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Today’s gospel evokes our sympathy. It opens the possibility—described as an impossibility—of place-sharing, trading or sharing places with each other. It also echoes a common theme: the pursuit of wealth in this world can lead us into idolatry and away from faith in Christ. Instead, as the reading from 1 Timothy reminds us, we should pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness, so that there is no “poor man named Lazarus” dying at our gates. After all, the greatest treasure—our eternal salvation?has already been procured for us through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Knowing this, we can share all we have with our neighbors, even our very place and salvation, confident that God will continue to provide for our needs.
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31
Jesus tells a parable in which the poor one is “lifted up” and the rich one is “sent away empty.” Jesus makes it clear that this ethic of merciful reversal is not new but is as old as Moses and the prophets.
[Jesus said:] 19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24He 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.’ 25But 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. 26Besides 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.’ 27He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—28for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He 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.’ ”