Prayer – O Lord, awaken me by this warning. Do not let me be like the foolish brothers.
Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)
Judaism believed that riches proved God’s favor and that poverty proved sinfulness. Jesus reveals the true picture, which shocks his audience. The rich man goes to hell, while Lazarus enjoys the highest honor of being at Abraham’s side. This sets the stage for this parable of the six brothers (its real name). The rich man sees clearly that his five brothers are in danger. However, his brothers are like foolish men with no thought of the impending judgment. They do not listen to the Church and its preaching.
Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)
A rich man feasted sumptuously every day. At his gates sat Lazarus, a beggar filled with sores. He desired only the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table but no one gave them. It happened that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried in hell. He lifted his eyes and saw Abraham afar off with Lazarus at his side. He cried out, Father Abraham, “Let Lazarus come and refresh me with some water.” Abraham replied, “Remember that you received good things in life and Lazarus received evil things. Now he is comforted and you are tormented. Besides, there is a great abyss between us and no one can pass from one side to another.”
The rich man said, “Then send Lazarus back to earth to preach to my five brothers, so they do not come to this place of torment.” Abraham said, “Let them listen to Moses and the prophets.” The rich man said, “If someone risen from the dead told them, they would do penance.” Abraham said, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not listen to one risen from the dead.”
Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)
- Lazarus is used only to highlight the problem of the six brothers, one dead and five living.
- The dead brother realizes how important repentance is. Without penance, his five brothers will all join him in hell.
- They have the normal helps (the teachings of Moses and the prophets) but the rich man realizes that they won’t use those helps.
- He pleads for Lazarus to be a risen-from-the-dead preacher, to whom they will certainly listen.
- However, Jesus is already risen from the dead and most do not listen even now.
- The parable challenges us to respond to the gospel that is preached to us every day.
Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)
- Jesus, while I am here on earth, I am free to choose.
- When my life is over, I will have made my choice.
- Right now, I decide to repent, to change and to have you as my Lord.
- I do not need an extraordinary preacher. I need only your word.
- You are risen. You preach to me. You speak within. You call. You shout. I must hush all the other voices, so I can hear you.
- Someday, Jesus, I will be in heaven or in hell. Guide my free will.
Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)
- I will read God’s word with urgency.
- I will believe that God who wants to welcome me into his Kingdom.
Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)
Lazarus was carried by the angels to the bosom of Abraham.