Gospel Luke 16:19-31

“If someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent.”

The parable in today’s passage reads like solid bit of hell-fire and brimstone scaremongering. Before we simply settle on this interpretation, let’s at least try to penetrate a little deeper.

The rich man in the story, who lives a life of luxury, dressed in purple and fine linen, feasting sumptuously day in, day out suffers from a blindness, which is only cured upon his death.

The blindness of the rich man is not a physiological condition but is in fact, something that he has adopted or learned. This is a blindness that he has taken on perhaps willingly, but perhaps it wasn’t something which he consciously embraced, instead being something he was gradually acclimatised, or habituated into, over the passage of time.

In this case we can see how the good fortune which he enjoyed in his earthly life, the riches, the purple linen and the fancy dinners gradually blinded him to the needs of those around him – as in the case of poor old Lazarus – but also to his own needs.

In our own context it becomes scarily possible to identify with this rich bloke, who is seemingly able to meet his every need and want with little assistance from anyone. Not having to struggle to meet our earthly needs of food, shelter, and clothing, we can, if we are not careful succumb to the same blindness which afflicted the rich man in today’s parable.

It really is difficult though, for us to discern our own blindspots – and it is here that we might think that need someone, like Lazarus, to return from the dead to ‘give us a warning. The wisdom of Abraham in the story though is clear – perhaps we need to weigh our own deeds with what has already been revealed to us.

Let us pray for our sight to be restored.

Point to Ponder

“Love is not blind; that is the last thing that it is. Love is bound; and the more it is bound the less it is blind.”

G.K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”