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Lazarus, the Rich Man, and Us

rich_man_and_lazarusThursday MARCH 20, 2014 Gospel LK 16:19-31

As an Eastern Catholic, we are taught early on to fight death at all costs.  Contrary to popular belief, death is not natural and is actually a result of sin. As a result of sin  every man and woman, whether a pious believer or an atheist, will one day taste death.

In this parable, we see a glimpse of the activity which takes place after our soul and our bodies separate.

Lazarus the beggar, wounded with sores that the dogs would lick, dies.  When his soul left his body, it was received by the angels and carried to Abraham’s bosom. In John Henry Newman’s epic work “The Dream of Gerontius” his Guardian Angel meets his soul in the air and presents him, his charge, to the just Judge.

We also know that in Luke 12:20 that the demons receive the souls of the unjust and hear the voice of God:

“You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you; then who will
get what you have prepared for yourself?”

Lazarus went to the bosom of Abraham, and the rich man went to a fiery place where he suffers torment in flames.  Despite their different destinations, the souls are keenly aware of each other’s existence, and in fact see each other. The scriptures say that the Rich Man, “saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” While the Rich man is suffering from the burning heat, he asks Abraham to send Lazarus to cool his tongue because, as he expressed himself, “I am tormented in this flame.”

Then, ever so late,  the rich man remembers his brothers and begs Abraham to send Lazarus to tell them of his torment, to preach to them. The dead, even those in the flames are keenly aware of the living and care for their existence.  The rich man pleads to Abraham to send Lazarus to preach to his brothers, but he has no power of coercion. His exhortation to try to warn to his brothers falls upon deaf ears, and instead receives the following message from Abraham:

‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’“

As we move toward the Pasche, may our Lenten prayer be to ask for consolation. May we take to heart our mortality, and begin in this graced season to correct where we have fallen short of the glory of God.


Carolyn Calfo Moebest is a mother of 6 boys and 2 girls. She is a Master Catechist and former editor of “Monastery Chat Newsletter” and former Book Reviewer for Catholic Business and Professionals Club of Fresno, CA.  Her Blog, “Roman Catholic In Exile” can be enjoyed here: www.rcinexile.blogspot.com.


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  • George Lujack

    The PARABLE of Lazarus was a PARABLE, NOT a literal account. The dead die when they die… their souls do not move along.

    In the story of the real Lazarus, Jesus resurrected him after 4-days. He told no tales of being in some place of purgatory or spirit prison. He (body and soul) were unconscious in death.

    The dead (body and soul) will rise at the last day, as Martha knew and Jesus stated. He will raise the dead (from the earth) on the LAST DAY. The dead will NOT descend into their bodies on the LAST DAY:

    JOHN 6:39-40:
    This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the LAST DAY. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the LAST DAY.”
    v. 54:
    Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the LAST DAY.

    JOHN 11:24:
    Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the LAST DAY.”

    What about the thief on the cross? Didn’t he go (his soul go) with Jesus to paradise? Nope. Jesus did not go to paradise on the day He died.

    JOHN 20:17:
    Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have NOT YET ASCENDED to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

    IMPROPER COMMA PLACEMENT BY TRANSLATORS AND PROPER COMMA PLACEMENT.

    IMPROPER:
    LUKE 23:43:
    And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

    PROPER:
    And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”

    The dead know nothing in death, are unconscious…

    ECCLESIASTES 9:5:
    For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing…

    PSALM 115:17:
    The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who GO DOWN INTO SILENCE.

    Catholicism has been spreading the lie of Satan… the original lie, with a twist.

    GENESIS 3:4:
    Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die…”

    Today the Catholic and many other churches proclaim, “You will not surely die, because your soul will go straight to heaven to be with God.”

    WRONG. We will die and go down into silent unconsciousness. Jesus will return to earth and raise the dead on the LAST DAY.

    • Cari Calfo Moebest

      Actually, if one knows Jewish Theology, it is very clear what Jesus said is in perfect line with that Theology. The Rich Man was in “Gahinnom”. Jesus went into the depths of Nothingness and reached into the dark, and found the hand of Adam, and opened the gates of Heaven and then, ascended to the Father. Jesus, in every parable was revealing another mystery to his Apostles and followers. He didn’t tell fake stories, ANYWHERE, unless, of course you are not of the Catholic Faith and have cut yourself from the root and have to depend on your “personal interpretation”. There is always continuity from one age to the next, and that continuity, if ruptured indicates a grave fall into error. This is why we can see in the Theology of the Jew a less perfect understanding of the Present day teaching of the Church, and Church Triumphant, Church Suffering, and Church Militant… Below is the teaching which Jesus is referring to, and perfected in HIS Church…the Catholic Church…

      Gan Eden and Gehinnom

      The place of spiritual reward for the righteous is often referred to in Hebrew as Gan Eden (GAHN ehy-DEHN) (the Garden of Eden). This is not the same place where Adam and Eve were; it is a place of spiritual perfection. Specific descriptions of it vary widely from one source to another. One source says that the peace that one feels when one experiences Shabbat properly is merely one-sixtieth of the pleasure of the afterlife. Other sources compare the bliss of the afterlife to the joy of sex or the warmth of a sunny day. Ultimately, though, the living can no more understand the nature of this place than the blind can understand color.

      Only the very righteous go directly to Gan Eden. The average person descends to a place of punishment and/or purification, generally referred to as Gehinnom (guh-hee-NOHM) (in Yiddish, Gehenna), but sometimes as She’ol or by other names. According to one mystical view, every sin we commit creates an angel of destruction (a demon), and after we die we are punished by the very demons that we created. Some views see Gehinnom as one of severe punishment, a bit like the Christian Hell of fire and brimstone. Other sources merely see it as a time when we can see the actions of our lives objectively, see the harm that we have done and the opportunities we missed, and experience remorse for our actions. The period of time in Gehinnom does not exceed 12 months, and then ascends to take his place on Olam Ha-Ba.

      Only the utterly wicked do not ascend at the end of this period; their souls are punished for the entire 12 months. Sources differ on what happens at the end of those 12 months: some say that the wicked soul is utterly destroyed and ceases to exist while others say that the soul continues to exist in a state of consciousness of remorse.. So I am sorry but you are in error George, but I appreciate your post.

    • When Christ said “Today you will be with me in paradise” to the good thief….. he didn’t mean heaven. Christ didn’t go to heaven until at least 43 more days. He even told Magdalen “do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father”

      Instead, Christ went to preach to the spirits in “prison”, in other words, those waiting to hear the Gospel, all souls from Adam up to the good thief, and then went to heaven with Christ, for as the Hebrew writer says “apart from us they should not be made perfect.”

      It is also why Judas Maccabeus made atonement for the dead worshipping idols in a moment of weakness. Even if one disagrees with the canonicity of Maccabees, it was a well known cultural event, clearly demonstrating the Jews had some concept of an afterlife, contrary to the belief that Judaism has never had such a concept.