What arrogance! He asks Lazarus to be sent to cool his tongue. Despite everything, Lazarus remains a slave.
These past weeks, we have Jesus addressing the crowds (hanging on every word and loving it), then the opponents, chief priests, Scribes, Pharisees (watching him closely, complaining) and last week his chosen disciples hanging in (but still confused).
His words “you can’t be the slave of God and of money” reminded Luke to include in 16:14 just prior to our reading today. “The Pharisees were money lovers. They heard these things and mocked him”!
Sadly, it will not be the last time he is mocked.
We do not have many Lazarus-like-people dumped at the rich man’s door today (perhaps an occasional impoverished nation) nor the pampered pet dog running around licking sores. Yet we seem to have a growing number of people sitting on pavements, begging, and not only in the big cities.
o, what do we do?
How should we act? Flip a coin into the basket or cap? Wish them well and pass by on the other side?
Stories abound (apocryphal or not) of what happens if one tries to talk, but not give; or to give in silence, or even to take the person to a safe place. There are real dilemmas.
Pope Francis in ‘Let us Dream’ suggests that this story is about indifference. The rich man knew about Lazarus. He passed him every day but did not let Lazarus’ situation affect him.
That indifference is picked up later in the story. God’s word via Moses and the prophets (like the words of Amos today), did not affect the rich man at all; he wanted salvation on his own terms.
That is not how it is in the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet again, we face the truth of the divine reversal in this story. Yet again, we are called to repentance and to hear, not just listen to, God’s word.
Praying with that word will solve our earlier dilemma.