The Third Exchange

This coming Sunday is the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s post we heard the second of the three exchanges between the rich man and Abraham in which it is requested that Lazarus be sent to warn the brothers of the rich man about what fate awaits them. Abraham notes that their fate – good and bad – has already been well explained by the prophets.

30  He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Apparently the rich man realizes that his brothers have little hope of repenting and turning from the very life that led to the rich man’s fate.  The call to repentance has been consistent within Luke’s gospel. John the Baptist preached repentance (3:3, 8). Jesus calls people to repentance (5:32), even declaring woes upon Chorazin and Bethsaida for their failure to repent (10:13) when even Nineveh repented (11:32)  Jesus warned the crowds that unless they repented they would perish like the Galileans at Pilate’s hand or people in Jerusalem upon whom a tower fell (13:3,5). Even close at hand, the parable of the Prodigal Son is a call to repentance as is the parable of the Dishonest Steward.

The Pharisees who heard this parable (16:14-18) are the ones to whom this third exchange is directed, but the message extends to all who love money (mammon) more than God.  The ones who will not hear the Word of God (via Moses and the prophets) or the Word of God enfleshed, they even rising from the dead will be convincing.

The question that lingers for Luke’s church and our own – how could it be that one would rise from the dead and still some refuse to believe, repent and reform their lives?

Image Credit: Lazarus and Dives, illumination from the 11th century Codex Aureus of Echternach, Public Domain at Wikipedia

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