Jesus said to the Pharisees: “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 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. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 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.’ 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.
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.’ He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 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.’“
As I reflect on this parable, I wonder what really sealed this man’s fate, a place on the wrong side of the the great chasm. His richness was his undoing, but what composed his wealth? What wealth did the poor man have that gained him an eternal reward, which was unrecognizable to the rich man?
Not knowing what the poor man did in life, I feel his spirit was the opposite of the rich man that was his salvation. So what was the spirit of the rich man? Was he royalty —dressed in purple and fine linen?
He became caring and concerned for others (his brothers) only after his death, for he knew they were like him. In his earthly time the rich man chose to be the lord of his life. He chose to serve himself, he chose position, power, and wealth; he chose self over others.
I feel all this came to him as he looked at Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham across the great chasm. In his plea for his brothers, the rich man recognizes what would change their fate, repentance! The final verse tells about the worldly refusal to this day of the continued rejection of Moses, the prophets, and even if someone (Jesus) rises from the dead.