The WORD in Other Words by Fr Louie Punzalan SVD (Philippines)
Thursday Week 2 Lent
Today‘s Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus presents two contrasting figures. The first character is a symbol of solitary luxury or ostentation — feasting on first-class meals all by his lonesome and having a change of fine clothes several times a day. The second character is a symbol of solitary poverty or misery — dying of hunger and thirst and not owning even a tattered shirt.
What is the key to the correct understanding of this parable? The answer lies in the name Lazarus, the Greek form of the Hebrew Eleazar, which means “the one who trusts in God” or “God is my help.” Lazarus is not just a poor man, but a poor man who believes and trusts in God. A person may be rich but feels he is like “Lazarus.” A person may be poor but he feels that he has no need for God in his life.
Do you feel like a Lazarus right now, battered by sickness or poverty or isolation or loneliness and pain, forgotten by others and by those whom God has blessed in this life? Continue believing and trusting in God knowing that it will be well with you in the end.
And if you see yourself as one of those blessed by God with the good things in life, open your eyes and heart. There is probably a Lazarus lying at your door and you have not taken notice. The sin of the rich man is that he ignored Lazarus. That is why the rich man in the parable may also refer to all of us and the poor man Lazarus may symbolize Jesus who said, “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren…”