The Parable of Lazarus, et al

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Lazarus and Dives - by Bonifacio VERONESE - from Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice . . . . . .
(The Lethargic-Abandon to the Music displayed by the Group in the Foreground, is not in the least disturbed
by the Presence of the Beggar, Lazarus Depicted at the Right, with a Dog licking his Leprous Wounds)


Lazarus of the Parable (Luke 16:19-31)

"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'".


The Parable of Lazarus, et al

The Story

The Dramatic Story of the Rich Man and the Beggar (only in Luke 16:19-31) is set forth by Christ in Two (2) Striking Scenes:

Their Condition Here: The Rich Man was Clothed in Purple and Byssus (i.e. Fine Linen), and spent each day in Gay Carousing. The Beggar had been cast Helpless at the Rich Man's Gate, and lay there all Covered with Sores; he Yearned for the Crumbs that fell from the Rich Man's Table, but received none, and was Left-to the Dogs. The Dogs Cleaned his Sores by Licking them; whereas the Rich Man did nothing.

Their Condition Hereafter: The Earthly Banquet is over; the Heavenly Banquet is begun. Lazarus Partakes-of the Banquet in a Place of Honor (cf. John 13:23). He reclines his head on Abraham's Bosom. The Rich Man is now the Outcast. He yearns for a Drop of Water. Lazarus is not allowed to leave the Heavenly Banquet and tend to the Outcast.


The Meaning

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Lazarus and Dives
(Luke 16:19-31)

Catholic Theologians now Commonly Accept the Story as a Parable. It is also Legendary that the Sores of Lazarus were Leprous. The Dogs showed more Compassion for the Lazarus than the Rich Man; they cleaned his Sores by licking them. The Purpose of the Parable is to Teach us the Evil Result of the Unwise Neglect of one's Opportunities.

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Lazarus was Rewarded, not because he was Poor, but for his Virtuous Acceptance of Poverty;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Dives, the Rich Man, was Punished, not because he was Rich, but for Vicious Neglect of the Opportunities given him by his Wealth.


Nota Bene: Lazarus is not in Heaven, because Jesus has yet to Open the Gates-of-Heaven by His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Instead, Lazarus is in a temporary Place-of-Happiness referred-to in Scripture by Numerous Terms:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Bosom of Abraham,
littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Paradise,
littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Limbus Patrum,
littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Limbo of the Fathers,
littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Banquet,
littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) Marriage Feast.

The Gates-of-Hell are always Open.

[Render an Account]


Different Story - Same Meaning


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by Father Munachi Ezeogu, C.S.Sp.


African Hunters have a Clever Way of Trapping Monkeys.

They slice a Coconut in two, hollow it out, and in one half of the shell cut a hole just big enough for a Monkey's Hand to pass through. Then they place an Orange in the other coconut half before fastening together the two halves of the Coconut Shell. Finally, they secure the Coconut to a Tree with a rope, retreat into the Jungle, and wait.

Sooner or later, an Unsuspecting Monkey swings by, smells the delicious Orange, and discovers its location inside the Coconut. The Monkey then slips his hand through the small hole, grasps the Orange, and tries to pull it through the hole. Of course, the Orange won't come out; it's too big for the hole. To no avail the persistent Monkey continues to pull and pull, never realizing the Danger he is in.

While the Monkey struggles with the Orange, the Hunters simply stroll in and captures the Monkey by throwing a net over him. As long as the Monkey keeps his fist wrapped around the Orange, the Monkey is trapped.

It's too bad, the poor Monkey could Save its own life if it would only let go of the Orange. It rarely occurs to a Monkey, however, that it can't have both the Orange and its Freedom.

That delicious Orange becomes a Deadly Trap.


Jesus said, "You cannot serve both God and Money".




munachi.jpg (16775 bytes) "About the only difference between Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones is the way you Choose to use them" Visit my website, Father Munachi's Homepage


Another Story - Same Meaning


JRR Tolkien's Strong Catholic Beliefs regarding Human Responsibility for Choice, is revealed in Gandalph's Sage and Godly Advice to Frodo "All we have to Decide (Choose) is what to do with the Time that is given to us".