Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gospel Text for Sunday, September 26th

Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said, "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' But Abraham said, `Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.' He said, `Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father's house-- for I have five brothers-- that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.' Abraham replied, `They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.' He said, `No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' He said to him, `If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'"

Questions for engaging the text:

- What do I observe" What am I seeing" Does this passage raise questions for me?
- Is anything attracting me, drawing my attention, or repulsing me?
-What response is emerging within me? What is my response to what is attracting me?***
-In what ways might I specifically act on my insights in the world
I really want to hear from you. Thank you for clicking on "Comments" below and adding your responses.
Grace and Peace, Debra

*** 1st three questions taken from The Art of Engaging Holy Scripture curriculum (see resources)

1 comment:

  1. I notice that either way you look at this parable, in life or in death – there is a gap – a seemingly unbridgeable chasm between the rich man and Lazarus. Once again Jesus tells a story in which things get turned upside down – or in this case – reversed. What began as a depressing story for Lazarus becomes a pathetic tale for the rich man. Just as Mary sang to Elizabeth, God’s “mercy is from generation to generation… he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1;48, 53)

    I must share a word of warning. Do not to take this parable literally and imagine this is a description of what happens after death. No. This is a story about life – in Jesus’ time and today.

    It is interesting that even in hell the rich man is really only thinking about himself – gimme gimme – making demands – telling Abraham to send Lazarus, whom he had no use for in life, to serve his needs. The rich man doesn’t even take a moment to ask why he is being tormented and why Lazarus is with the angels. He does not see his sinfulness.

    Until we acknowledge our sinfulness – our culpability – we cannot move beyond it. And this is the barrier, the chasm, that prevents us from climbing the proverbial mountain out of our self-induced hells. The thing is, the rich man did have a chance to bridge the gap – every time he came in and went out of his gate he could have stopped, acknowledged Lazarus and offered him even the left overs from his table. But apparently the rich man was too busy taking care of his own needs and those of his rich guests.

    I must ask myself, where am I blind to the needs and rights of others? Whom do I step over or around, forgetting their humanity while satisfying my desires? To whom am I blind because I am self-absorbed?