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Bible Dictionaries

1910 New Catholic Dictionary

Parable of Lazarus And the Rich Man

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One of the most graphic parables of Christ (Luke 16), describing the beggar at the rich man's table. The name Lazarus (Hebrew: God hath helped) has become synonymous the world over and for all time with misery in any form. The rich man is not named because, as Saint Cyril remarks, God's way of treating the rich who are heartless is: "nor will I be mindful of their names by my lips" (Psalms 15). The rich man feasts sumptuously every day, Lazarus gets scarcely enough scraps from the table to satisfy hunger; the dogs, a name for filthy animals, lick his sores. Lazarus dies and is carried by angels into Abraham's bosom, a name for heaven; the rich man dies and was buried, in hell, as the text implies. Then come the pleadings of the rich man to Father Abraham to send Lazarus to cool hIs tongue with a fingertip dipped in water. He is refused. He pleads that his five brethren may be warned by sending Lazarus to tell them of his torment. He is reminded they have ample warning in Moses and the prophets. He insists on a message from the dead. He is told: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead." The parable is a lesson on the enormity of injustice, the evils of inequality in the distribution of this world's goods, the heartlessness that too often develops from the acquisition of wealth, and the assumption of the rich man that money can command anything, even a special revelation if necessary.

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Bibliography Information
Entry for 'Parable of Lazarus And the Rich Man'. 1910 New Catholic Dictionary. 1910.

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