I have a question about the Rich Man and Lazarus


#1

Hello!

I have a question about the Rich Man and Lazarus. (Luke 16:19-31)

Did the rich man end up in hell or purgatory? What is the official Church teaching?

I have read and heard in homilies that the rich man ended up in hell, but I was taught in RCIA that the rich man was in purgatory. Of course, both scenarios are undesired, to say thee least.

Which one do you think (hell or purgatory) and why?

Here is parable pasted below:

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.*
19
“There was a rich man* who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.
20
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,i
21
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
22
When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,
23
and from the netherworld,* where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
24
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
25
Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.j
26
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’
27
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house,
28
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’
29
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’
30

  • He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
    31
    Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”k

#2

1st. The Church does not [officially] declare on a soul’s final destination: ONLY God knows for sure:)

The parable you ask about is a MORAL STORY; not a recounting of known facts.

In this account the Rich man for reasons likely beyond charity]; but nevertheless GREATLY influenced by the laws of Charity, and the LACK thereof is reported to be in hell.

I have read and heard in homilies that the rich man ended up in hell, but I was taught in RCIA that the rich man was in purgatory. Of course, both scenarios are undesired, to say thee least.

Which one do you think (hell or purgatory) and why?

Parables are MORAL LESSON STORIES.

Consider his account in light od similar teachings:

Mt 5:44
But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you:

John 13:34
A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

& READ if you will please:Mt 5: 1-20

Many years ago I was asked to explain the entire meaning of the Bible in a SINGLE WORD: the word I choose is LOVE

And that dear friend is the MORAL of the passages you ask about.

Jesus was pointing out the gravity with emphasis; on the absolute necessity of Extreme Charity:heart:

Here is parable pasted below:

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.*
19
“There was a rich man* who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day.
20
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,i
21
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
22
When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,
23
and from the netherworld,* where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.
24
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
25
Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented."


#3

How do you quote just part of a post on this forum???

It says the rich man ended up in the Netherworld, the place of the Dead.

I believe he was in purgatory because he had communication with Abraham and could see both Abraham and Lazarus, so surely God’s presence was there among them. The definition of Hell (what I learned while I was in seminary) is the absence of God, and God is not absent in that scenario.

Yes, with today’s Gospel reading in mind charity should not be neglected. At a Manresa retreat the priest (retreat instructor) stressed to us that we would be judged more by our works than our sins.


#4

How do you quote just part of a post on this forum???

The way I just did:

Select and copy the part you want quoted;
Open a set of quotation brackets;
Paste the text within them.

As to the OP: I am not a scholar, but would hold to his being in Purgatory, simply because he still cared for his brothers and did not want them punished. Those in Hell supposedly no longer care for anybody.

ICXC NIKA


#5

Select and copy the part you want quoted;
Open a set of quotation brackets;
Paste the text within them.

Got it. Thank you GEddie!

As to the OP: I am not a scholar, but would hold to his being in Purgatory, simply because he still cared for his brothers and did not want them punished. Those in Hell supposedly no longer care for anybody.

Agreed. That’s a good point. Thanks for sharing.


#6

As PJM has pointed out, this was a parable, not a theological discourse on the doctrine of hell.

If he were in purgatory, he wouldn’t have worried about the suffering, knowing that it would (eventually) be replaced by eternal bliss. Moreover, purgatory isn’t about torment, but rather, purgation or cleansing: the rich man, on the other hand, is being punished. Finally, he wants his brothers to repent. If they don’t repent, then their eternal destiny is hell, not purgatory.

That leads to the conclusion that he’s in hell.


#7

As PJM has pointed out, this was a parable, not a theological discourse on the doctrine of hell.

If you’ll notice in the original post, yes, it is mentioned it’s a parable. :slight_smile:

If he were in purgatory, he wouldn’t have worried about the suffering, knowing that it would (eventually) be replaced by eternal bliss. Moreover, purgatory isn’t about torment, but rather, purgation or cleansing: the rich man, on the other hand, is being punished. Finally, he wants his brothers to repent. If they don’t repent, then their eternal destiny is hell, not purgatory.

Well…no. You can’t “presume” for the rich man of how he felt.

And how do you know there is not torment involved in purgation? It says he was in flames. That sounds like purification to me.

You might want to refer to 2 Samuel 12:13-14, 1 Cor 3:15 and reconsider…


#8

I don’t think Purgatory existed before the death and resurrection of Jesus.


#9

Then why is it being treated as if an accurate theological description of heaven, hell, or purgatory? :wink:

After all, you used the ‘fact’ of communication between Abraham and the rich man as ‘proof’ that it was purgatory! No… it’s a story; the communication is a device used to move the narrative along.

Well…no. You can’t “presume” for the rich man of how he felt.

Fair enough. Yet, you can’t presume from his statements that he ‘felt’ he was in purgatory, either… :wink:

Nevertheless, what you’re asking us to believe is that the rich man was begging to be relieved from purification?!? That doesn’t make sense: who in the world says, “save me from the process by which I will get to heaven!”…??? :nope:

And how do you know there is not torment involved in purgation?

Because the Church only speaks about ‘torment’ as being characteristic of hell.

It says he was in flames. That sounds like purification to me.

The notion of ‘flames’ is applied to both, in various places in Church documents. The mere presence of ‘flames’ shouldn’t suggest purgatory to you, over hell.

You might want to refer to 2 Samuel 12:13-14, 1 Cor 3:15 and reconsider…

This doesn’t help your case; it hurts it. There is no forgiveness for sin after death; in 2 Samuel 12, David begs forgiveness and it is granted to him. In 1 Cor 3, there is the notion of flame – but there are far more numerous references in Scripture describing flames in the context of Hell.

But, let’s see what the Church says about the parable. The catechism is a good place to start. The index of Scriptural citations is interesting. Luke 16:19-31 is referenced at paragraph 1859; that’s the paragraph that discusses mortal sin. You know where you end up if you die in unrepentant mortal sin, right? (Hint: not purgatory. ;))

This passage is also referenced in paragraph 2831. What’s discussed there? “Give us this day our daily bread” from the Lord’s Prayer. Does this give us any hint about the purgatory vs hell question? Yes: here, the catechism says, “This petition of the Lord’s Prayer cannot be isolated from the parables of the poor man Lazarus and of the Last Judgment.” And so, what does the story of the Last Judgment tell us about those who did not feed the hungry? Simply that, in not feeding their fellow men and women, they failed to feed Jesus… and therefore, are condemned to hell.

The references in the catechism point exclusively to hell, not to purgatory.


#10

Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’

More than any other line, this says HELL. Those in Purgatory do wish to go to the other side, and DO. Also it is said that the angels will come to release those in Purgatory when they are purified. So with Purgatory there is coming in and going forth, unlike hell, which has no exit, as is indicated by the parable.

Further: If the rich man was in Purgatory, there would be NO POINT to the parable. IOW, the rich man did nothing seriously wrong, but maybe was remiss somewhat. The parable is CONDEMNING the behavior of the rich man, not offering a namby pamby warning that it just isn’t quite right.


#11

**Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”k **

Im not so sure about this, I have a feeling if it was proven beyond a doubt, that the person was indeed brought back to life and shared some very important information, I tend to think the entire world would take this seriously, there would be no question, that person WAS dead, so we would know for a fact what he is saying is accurate.


#12

Pope St. John Paul II doesn’t directly disclose whether the rich man was in hell or purgatory, but says he was condemned by Christ and in torment.

He knew our country needed to hear it. I know I need to hear it.

HOLY MASS AT YANKEE STADIUM

HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II

New York
Tuesday, 2 October 1979

  1. On various occasions, I have referred to the Gospel parable of the rich man and Lazarus. “Once there was a rich man who dressed in purple and linen and feasted splendidly every day. At his gate lay a beggar named Lazarus who was covered with sores. Lazarus longed to eat the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table” (Lk 16 :19 ff.). Both the rich man and the beggar died and judgment was rendered on their conduct. And the Scripture tells us that Lazarus found consolation, but that the rich man found torment. Was the rich man condemned because he had riches, because he abounded in earthly possessions, because he “dressed in purple and linen and feasted splendidly every day?” No, I would say that it was not for this reason. The rich man was condemned because he did not pay attention to the other man. Because he failed to take notice of Lazarus, the person who sat at his door and who longed to eat the scraps from his table. Nowhere does Christ condemn the mere possession of earthly goods as such. Instead, he pronounces very harsh words against those who use their possessions in a selfish way, without paying attention to the needs of others. The Sermon on the Mount begins with the words : “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. And at the end of the account of the Last Judgment as found in Saint Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus speaks the words that we all know so well: “I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink. I was away from home and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing. I was ill and in prison and you did not come and comfort me” (Mt 25 :42-43).

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus must always be present in our memory; it must form our conscience. Christ demands openness to our brothers and sisters in need—openness from the rich, the affluent, the economically advanced; openness to the poor, the underdeveloped and the disadvantaged. Christ demands an openness that is more than benign attention, more than token actions or half-hearted efforts that leave the poor as destitute as before or even more so.

All of humanity must think of the parable of the rich man and the beggar. Humanity must translate it into contemporary terms, in terms of economy and politics, in terms of all human rights, in terms of relations between the “First”, “Second” and “Third World”. We cannot stand idly by when thousands of human beings are dying of hunger. Nor can we remain indifferent when the rights of the human spirit are trampled upon, when violence is done to the human conscience in matters of truth, religion, and cultural creativity.

We cannot stand idly by, enjoying our own riches and freedom, if, in any place, the Lazarus of the twentieth century stands at our doors. In the light of the parable of Christ, riches and freedom mean a special responsibility. Riches and freedom create a special obligation. And so, in the name of the solidarity that binds us all together in a common humanity, I again proclaim the dignity of every human person: the rich man and Lazarus are both human beings, both of them equally created in the image and likeness of God, both of them equally redeemed by Christ, at a great price, the price of “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pt 1 :19).


#13

Put the quote like this: {QUOTE] begin your quote …END your quote

It says the rich man ended up in the Netherworld, the place of the Dead.

I believe he was in purgatory because he had communication with Abraham and could see both Abraham and Lazarus, so surely God’s presence was there among them. The definition of Hell (what I learned while I was in seminary) is the absence of God, and God is not absent in that scenario

I disagree, see my prior post for why; BUT it’s not obligatory to hold either view. The Moral is the essential need for charity.:slight_smile:

Yes, with today’s Gospel reading in mind charity should not be neglected. At a Manresa retreat the priest (retreat instructor) stressed to us that we would be judged more by our works than our sins.

On this we agree:D

Blessings,

Patrick


#14

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