There are so many details in the Gospel parable of Dives and Lazarus that it is a challenge to pick them all up. Many of the details are implicit. Remember the setting: at the same supper when Jesus told of the lost lamb, coin, and sons. He is addressing the Pharisees and the scribes.

It is curious that we don’t know the rich man’s name, when we are given the name of Lazarus. Traditional he is named Dives, but that is merely Latin for “rich man.” He is dressed like the emperor, in purple. On earth, neither men seem to know one another; actually we the listeners in some way better know them, as Jesus tells the story.

The story ends abruptly, inviting our consideration of Abraham’s final comeback in the dialogue. The narrative that occurs on earth has no conversation, while the one between heaven and Hades has the dialogue. It is the Greek Hades, and not the Hebrew word Sheol, that Luke uses, which suggests his Hellenistic audience. Curiously “Hades” probably derives from and means “the Unseen One,” in Greek which makes sense in light of the Greek understanding of afterlife. Yet, in a sense, the netherworld is not only unseeable from our side, but also from their side to us or heavenly realms, in other words they are blind when in Hades, as we are when we sin, as Dives was in his failure to see Lazarus. ON the way to Jerusalem Jesus will cure a blind man who calls out to him, much like Dives to Abraham.

Finally note the build up in the four rounds of the dialogue leading up to the resurrection. teaching which will be fulfilled in Jerusalem.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

No Comments

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.