Insights Into The Rich Man & Lazarus

● The name Lazarus means “one who has been helped.”

● Though presumably well known while he lived, the rich man’s name is never mentioned. St. Augustine says this is because God did not find the rich man’s name written in heaven.

● The rich man has traditionally been given the name “Dives” (the Latin word for “rich.”)

● Purple was the ancient world’s most expensive clothing color; it took 240,000 sea snails and a complex process to produce one ounce of “Royal Purple” dye.

● Being rich, in and of itself, is not a sin; Abraham, David, and Joseph of Arimathea were all rich and friends of God.

● Dives’ sin was his loveless indifference to a person in need he could have easily helped.

● Dives did not use his mammon to win friends like last week’s Gospel teaches.

● Dogs’ saliva has healing properties. In licking Lazarus’ (salty) wounds the dogs did him more good than Dives ever did.

● Dives couldn’t have missed Lazarus lying at his gate. In fact, Dives apparently even knew his name: “Send Lazarus…”

● Even after his condemnation for failing to serve Lazarus, Dives asks that Lazarus serve him; he asks Abraham to send Lazarus to “cool my tongue” and “to my father’s house.”

● St. Peter Chrysologus sees envy behind Dives’ requests: “He does not ask to be led to Lazarus but wants Lazarus to be led to him.”

● St. Augustine speculates that Dives and his brothers used to make fun of the prophets and doubted there was any existence after death.

● Those who do not see that Moses and the prophets speak about Jesus Christ are also unconvinced by Jesus’ rising from the dead.

● St. Jerome suggests that Dives’ five brothers are the five senses he served and loved so much.

● Even after he is condemned, Father Abraham still calls Dives “Son.” St. Ephraim notes that Abraham, who showed strangers kindness & asked mercy for Sodom, was unable to have mercy on one who showed no mercy.

● Abraham represents God, who forgives only the merciful, but who loves even those who are separated from him forever.

2 Responses to “Insights Into The Rich Man & Lazarus”

  1. Tim Says:

    The rich man is not in Torments because he ignored Lazarus, or was unkind in anyway. The rich man is in Torments because he ignored the Gospel message – he did not believe in Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior, the one the prophets had told of, the one the Levitical sacrifices talked of, the one that Abraham himself had believed in for his salvation (Romans 4:1-10). Please read the rest of this story in Luke 16! (and maybe a good clear presentation of the Gospel while you are at). The website has the clearest presentation I have seen called : the Really Good News

    • Fr. Victor Feltes Says:

      Thanks for your note highlighting Dives’ lack of faith.

      I’m reminded of 1st John 4:20: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” To be salvific, faith and love must go together, for “even the demons believe” in God but are not saved. (James 2:19)

      Yesterday, I came upon this relevant homily by Msgr. Charles Pope: “Faith is not alone, Scripture is not alone, Grace is not alone. We ought not separate what God has joined”

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