LAZARUS, THE BEGGAR (Fr. Varghese Paul, S.J.)

The name Lazarus means helped by God. There are two characters by name Lazarus in the New Testament. We have already seen the character of first Lazarus, the brother of two sisters, Martha and Mary.

Here we shall try to portray the character of Lazarus, the beggar. Lazarus the beggar is one of the two main characters in parable of the rich man and the poor beggar. Jesus has used many parables in his teaching. But in all the parables of Jesus, Lazarus is the only character identified by name.

This parable of the rich man and Lazarus shows God love and care for all kinds of people, even a poor beggar like Lazarus.

Biblical scholar Ronald Brownrigg in Who Who the New Testament compares the parable of the rich man and Lazarus to a tragedy in three acts. It is a tragedy in three acts with two chief characters: the rich man, often called for convenience by the Latin word Dives, meaning wealthy, and the beggar called Lazarus, a Hebrew word meaning he whom God helps (p.144).

The parable begins with the scene of the rich man house. The appearance of the rich man and of the poor, sick Lazarus is described. The rich man wears expensive cloths, eats well and lives in luxury. And there is the poor Lazarus at the gate of the rich man house. He is hungry and sick. Sores cover his body. He is hoping to satisfy his hunger with the crumbs, which fall from the table of the rich man.

In the second act of the parable the scene changes. The scene here has two parts. The poor man Lazarus has died and has been carried by the angels to the paradise by the side of Abraham. In the second part the rich man has also died and he is buried. He is in Hades, where he is in great pain.

The rich man from his place in Hades looks up and sees Lazarus far away sitting by the side of Abraham in a great feast. So he calls out, Father Abraham! Take pity on me, and send Lazarus to dip his finger in some water and cool my tongue, because I am in great pain in this fire! (Lk 16, 24).

In the third act of the parable the scenes are the same. But there is an interesting dialogue between the rich man in Hades and Abraham in the paradise.

The rich man wants Abraham to send Lazarus to his rescue. But Abraham explains to the rich man his inability to send Lazarus to the rich man because there is a great, unbridgeable gap or pit lying between them so that neither of them can cross from one side to another.

The rich man understands Abraham explanation and accepts his position in the Hades. But still he wants Abraham to do him a favour. So he says,

I beg you, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father house, where I have five brothers. Let him go and warn them so that they, at least, will not come to this place of pain (Lk 16, 27-28).

Abraham do not grand the rich man pleading an behalf of his brothers. He explains to him the fact that they have Moses and the prophets to guide them.

The rich man does not accept that the people on earth have all the warning they need. Then, Abraham once again states his position firmly, If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone were to rise from death (Lk 16, 31).

The parable has a sudden abrupt ending without any further comment or explanation. Jesus has left the conclusion of his parable to each one of his audience, to each one of us too. (contact the author: यह ईमेल पता spambots से संरक्षित किया जा रहा है. आप जावास्क्रिप्ट यह देखने के सक्षम होना चाहिए. )

અમારો સંપર્ક કરો

ફાધર વર્ગીસ પોલ, એસ.જે.
(ડિરેક્ટર, સી.આઈ.એસ.એસ.)


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