THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2020
THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
We read today about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
Lazarus was poor, sick and deprived, while the rich man lived
in luxury. Lazarus died and went to heaven, while the rich
man died and went to hell. The rich man was concerned about
his brothers and wanted Abraham to send Lazarus to warn them.
Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.” (Lk 16:29).
and the prophets spoke God’s words, on behalf of God.
These were instructions by which one would build his house
on rock. Those who would not listen to and act on God’s
words will not only find their house collapsing and ruined,
but would themselves end up like the rich man, who went to
“the netherworld, where he was in torment” (Lk
readings today look to another analogy by which one values
God’s words, by which “the law of the Lord is
his joy; and on his law he meditates day and night.”
(Ps 1:2). It is not a house buffeted by waters, but “a
tree planted beside the waters” (Jer 17:8a). The waters
do not bring the house down, but bring life to the tree. So
like the wise man who built his house on rock, this man “is
like a tree planted near streams of water, that yields its
fruit in season; its leaves never wither; whatever he does
prospers.” (Ps 1:3).
the one who did not act on God’s words, the winds had
blown and buffeted his house, which collapsed. So too are
the wicked, who “are like chaff driven by the wind.”
(Ps 1:4). The fool who built his house on sand saw the collapse
and ruin of his house. Likewise, “the way of the wicked
leads to ruin.” (Ps 1:6b). “In the end they are
only fools.” (Jer 17:11c).
The rich man had argued that what would make his brothers
repent would be if someone from the dead goes to them. Abraham
said, “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from
the dead.” (Lk 16:31). But someone did rise from the
dead. He is Jesus. And he is the Rock on which we need to
be built. We obey him completely as we trust him completely.
“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord; the Lord will
be their trust.” (Jer 17:7).
rich man had gone to the netherworld. He could not bridge
the chasm that separated him from Abraham and Lazarus. “Therefore
the wicked will not arise at the judgment, nor will sinners
in the assembly of the just.” (Ps 1:5). He had realized
his mistake, but it was too late. How can we be blessed rather
the contrast. “Cursed is the man who trusts in human
beings, who makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away
from the Lord.” (Jer 17:5). On the other hand, “Blessed
is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers.”
(Ps 1:1). We are not to listen to the world, the flesh and
the devil, but only to the words of God. We are not to live
immoral lives, but only according to the ways of God. We are
not to be influenced by those who have no faith, but are to
be set apart for God. Indeed, “the Lord knows the way
of the just” (Ps 1:6a).
gives us His words, His law, His way of life. It is up to
us to listen to and act on them, or not. But we must know
that our choice will have consequencesbeing wise or a
fool, a house standing or collapsing, a tree planted beside
the waters or “a barren bush in the wasteland”
(Jer 17:6a), prosperity or ruin, life or death, heaven or
hell. In the end, we will be judged. “I, the Lord, explore
the mind and test the heart, giving to all according to their
ways, according to the fruit of their deeds.” (Jer 17:10).
your house stand, and may you be carried to the bosom of Abraham.