The Rich Man and Lazarus


This passage has drawn some attention lately because of the homily 2-3(?) weeks back, and I wanted to post for people’s insights on the following part of the passage that has drawn my curiosity in the past:

Luke 16: 22-26 NRSVCE
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.’

“So that those who might want to pass form here to you cannot do so”

What do you suppose this is all about? Why would those in Abraham’s bosom want to cross over to the place where the rich man is? I have some thoughts for this, but I just wanted to leave this completely open.


They wouldn’t and that isn’t what the verse is implying

The rich man is asking Abraham to send Lazarus to give the rich man some water.

Abraham says “no” and his rationale is that people can’t cross from where he is to where the rich man is


God have give us a free will, and this story tell us that even if we have free will it comes with responsibility, in this case the “rich man” did choose to not help Lazarus, he did exercise it by not help, but when the Book of Life are opened God did show him what that responsibilty is. To use our free will does not give us the right to do wrong, we have a free will to do what is right.


You are wondering why anyone in a good and holy place would want to cross over into hades. I doubt that they would but perhaps those good souls in the Holy place upon seeing those in hades might have compassion for those suffering and want to try to help them by bringing them water. Abraham points out that no interaction between these groups will be possible after death.
Jesus is trying to warn us to follow him while we are alive and not to rely on mercy after death as so many do. St Faustina was told by Jesus that He has an ocean of mercy for us while we are alive . But after death there we will face justice. I think that is the point of the passage.


I agree, the minute I saw what you were emphasizing I thought personally it would be very hard to witness such suffering no matter who was there. It would appear God in his infinite wisdom anticipated this.


The most important thing that I got from this passage is that when we die, we don’t sleep like some Churches think that when one dies, the body and soul sleep. This shows that when we die our souls do go somewhere.


The reason this struck my curiosity is because I had the idea that once we ascend into Heaven, our wisdom and intellect will become so enormously expanded that the idea of providing relief for people in Hades will be entirely removed from us. We will understand the condemned entirely for what they are and the ultimate choice they made in their heart, and we will be disgusted with them. Here on Earth, the idea of Hades is something that always has been, and always will be, a difficult teaching to accept, in part because of our darkened intellect and our conspicuousness, and also because we do know see here on Earth what we will see in Heaven.

Consider Revelation 19

Revelation 19: 1-3
The Rejoicing in Heaven

**After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

Salvation and glory and power to our God,
for his judgments are true and just;
he has judged the great whore
who corrupted the earth with her fornication,
and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

Once more they said,

The smoke goes up from her forever and ever.”**

(the passage continues with more celebration and praise to God)

We see in Revelation a victory celebration over the eternal fate of evil. This is not a pleasurable celebration over their agony, but it is celebration of good triumphing over evil. There will be no mourning for those in Hell.

Does the CC teach that the Gates of Heaven (and Hell) were not yet opened until Christ’s mission was accomplished? Sheol was the resting place of the dead, so do you suppose the spirits in Sheol did not yet have the understanding that we will have when we are in Heaven? So they might - by lack of wisdom - be compelled to help those that are in torment?


I never considered that passage to intend that meaning, but I can imagine that some from Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom) would be interested in going over if they had loved ones there. I can only imagine the grief it would cause to know that your parents or children was there. In the book of Revelation, after the damned is cast into the Lake of Fire, it says that God will wipe away the tears of the saints. No doubt that is probably a phrase that means that in that time the saints will no longer be sad. But I think it could mean that once the saints see all the lost cast body and soul into the Lake of Fire that its going to take the supernatural touch of God to wipe away the grief of the saints who have witnessed the lost cast into Hell in which many of their loved ones were a part of. Just a thought!


I endorse this position as well. You don’t see Lazarus asking or even considering going over. The point is, the position of each is fixed, and the total separation of the two sides is signified by the “chasm” (Don’t lose sight of the fact that in the afterlife of Sheol, we are talking about souls and not physical bodies).


This parable has so much going on. It shows me a teasing side of Jesus that I had never considered when He named the poor man “Lazarus” after His wealthy friend, who obviously wouldn’t have been like the rich man in the parable.

Then, at the end, in v31, He gave His listeners a prophecy: “And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.” The irony was that He knew in advance that just such a thing would occur when He raised Lazarus from the dead in such dramatic and unmistakable circumstances, yet the Pharisees ans Scribes still did not believe.


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