|Lazarus and the Rich Man by Gustave Dore.|
Today's Gospel reading is about two kinds of people. One is an unnamed rich man. The other is the poor man named Lazarus who just filled himself with the scraps coming from the table of the rich man. Lazarus' condition is so bad that dogs come to lick the sores that cover his whole body. The two eventually died and Lazarus was taken to the “bosom of Abraham” and the other was taken to eternal torment.
Of the many things that can be gleaned from this parable, what caught my attention is these words of our Lord: “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”
The parable refers to Lazarus but it can also interpreted to refer to Jesus Christ, he who actually rose from the dead.
Our Church teaches that the Old Testament, which includes the law established by Moses and the writings of the Prophets, “is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 121). That we cannot do away with the “old scripture” because it is Divinely inspired.
In today's Gospel, it can be said that those who don't believe in the teachings found in the Old Testament will find it uneasy to believe in the teachings of the Resurrected One. “If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.”
Many people, nowadays, want to do away with the teachings found in the Old Testament. These people, in turn, separates Jesus Christ (who they incorrectly label as “very” forgiving, “very” tolerant, peace loving God) from the God in the Old Testament (who they erroneously believe always chastises and punishes people).
Today's Gospel reminds us that Jesus Christ said that he came not to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Let us then be reminded not to diminish the Old Testament nor throw it away. The Law and Prophets are indispensable parts of the Christ's teachings. For what God has taught in the age of the Patriarchs, or of Moses, or the Prophets is still true until today and for eternity.