Proper 21 Luke 16:19-31 September 25, 2022

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 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.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment. ‘Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He 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.'”
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1. How is Jesus describing the differences between the rich man and Lazarus? What does each man have? What does each lack? How do you imagine the situation of each? Abraham tells him his five brothers should listen to Moses and the prophets. What do you imagine they might hear were they to listen to them? What do you make of any comparison or connection Jesus (or Luke) seems to be making between Moses and the prophets and someone who rises from the dead?

2. In your world who are the rich? And how are they rich? Who are the poor? And how are they poor? In what sense might the rich in your world be poor? And how might the poor be rich? How do they maintain their distance from one another?

3. In what ways are you rich? How are you poor? How do you keep these two sides of your self separate? How do you hide or flaunt one or the other? What do you know of such a rich one and a poor one inside your soul or psyche? What do you suppose Jesus (or Luke) wants you to know about the relationship between Moses and the prophets and someone who might rise from the dead (Jesus, for instance)?