Working with the Word

Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases: a rich man, received what was good, great chasm, Moses and the prophets, listen, someone should rise from the dead

To the point: The rich man in the gospel can neither see nor hear: he does not see Lazarus in need at his door; he does not listen to Moses and the prophets who guide him in right ways. The rich man is not in “the netherworld, where he was in torment” simply because of the good he received during his lifetime, but because his self-contained, self-satisfied lifestyle was not faithful to the teaching and practice of the Mosaic covenant. We who live today have even a further revelation beyond Moses and the prophets: we are to hear and put into practice the truth of the Gospel affirmed by Jesus who rose from the dead. By so doing, we choose now on which side of the chasm we will be in the next life.

Connecting the Gospel …

… to the first reading: The rich man’s problem is not his wealth but his complacency. Like the “complacent in Zion” who “are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph,” the rich man is unconcerned for Lazarus because he has not listened well to “Moses and the prophets” nor acting according to their dictates to be concerned for one’s neighbor.

… to experience: We tend not to listen to those who challenge us to hear the truth about ourselves and how we should live. But we have also learned that when we take to heart the challenge to listen, we grow toward fullness of life.


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson