Sunday, 18 June 2017

Parables for our time: The Rich Man and Lazarus Retold

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. He lived in a fine mansion in the city along with his rich friends.

Not far from his way was an old tower, where there lived many poor people, including a one named Lazarus and his family. Although they were poor, they were happy.

But the rich man and his friends did not like the view from their mansions of this tower, weather worn and ugly grey, so they asked the city authorities to make it look better.

And it was decided to clad this ugly grey tower with fine materials, so that it would not be an eyesore to the rich man and his friends.

As this was a tower in which there lived Lazarus and his family, and many poor people, all expense was spared, and the cheapest materials were used. For the builders, too, were rich men.

The time came when the Lazarus and many other poor folk died, for the tower caught fire, and the cheap material burned like a Roman candle, as in the days of Nero, and many died, including Lazarus.

But the time also came where the rich man died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And he burned then, while you burn now.”

“And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, greater than than between rich and poor, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.”

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five rich brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment because of their greed and lack of compassion.’

 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the ashes of the fire.’”

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