Carried by the angels ...
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.’”
The temptation when we read this passage is to go all theological about the afterlife. When we do I think that we miss some important points. Firstly, faith or love are not implicitly mentioned but it seems that the rich man had neither when it came to how he treated this man who was in excruciating pain. This parable further reveals the state of many who are wealthy, both in Christ's time and in ours. The indifference that this unnamed man had is an abomination.
Do you not think that it was God's plan all along that someone on earth would comfort Lazarus, take him to their side and care for him? Does it concern you that this care only came after he died? Is it not a condemnation on each of us who see such people and do nothing presuming that God will care for them as if he can do it apart from us? This parable is way more troubling than any message about heaven and hell. To whom much is given much is required.
Help us Lord to care for the Lazarus' of our time. May we be more like you than the rich man in the parable.