Daily Office Readings for Monday of Proper 28: Year 2
“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,” (Luke 16: 24).
There are so many stories to tell or talk about from the readings we have for today. I will stick with this one from Luke.
It is written that what we have in us on earth, we will take to heaven with us. Where we wind up in the afterlife is determined by the toxins found in us. We should be careful. What we take with us could prevent us from entry into that side of the great chasm where Father Abraham resides. The rich man in this parable never respected the dignity of Lazarus. This attitude of arrogance has become a toxin that stuck with him even in the afterlife. We know this because even in the afterlife he does not address Lazarus himself or apologize for neglecting him in their previous life. But rather, he addresses Father Abraham to “send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue.” Earthly arrogance and disrespect does not work in the realm of God.
Greed, jealousy, hate, lust, gluttony and all other such self-serving desires inside us can separate us from the Love of God, even though Paul says differently regarding external environs that happen to us in the thirteenth chapter of his letter to the Romans. God will still love us but we won’t be able to be with God due to internal properties that we should have ridded ourselves of before we passed on to the afterlife. Paul speaks of environmental and external events that fall on us that he says can’t separate us from the love of God (Romans 8: 35 to 39). But we must hold this good news next to the words of our Lord Jesus who cautions us that “whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven.” This is said twice in the Gospel of Matthew; chapter 16, verse 19; and chapter 18, verse 18. This is surely a lesson the rich man could have used. Continuing in the parable, the rich man tries to negotiate a path for his brothers so that they will not meet his fate. Father Abraham reminds him that if his brothers just follow the lessons of the prophets they will be alright. But the rich man insists that if Lazarus returns to them from the dead his brothers would believe. But Father Abraham told him that if they wouldn’t follow the teachings of the prophets they wouldn’t believe even if Lazarus returned from the dead. This of course is an allusion to Jesus himself rising from the dead and some of us still not believing.
You and I have our Lord Jesus and all of these lessons to assist us in correcting our lives before we enter the afterlife. We have the same prophets in addition to the saints who have gone before us.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John