Sunday, 25 September 2016

Heaven misrepresented?

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus of today's gospel has a very weird sense of heaven.  However, I guess the reading is not about heaven so much as is it is about priorities in life - not the material things of this earth: neither pleasures nor suffering.  Anyway as I sat for meditation this morning, I could not but draw comparisons between the difference scenarios presented in the context of the "wide chasm dividing the two"...

The divide is seen not just in heaven but on earth as well.  There is a wide chasm separating Lazarus from the rich man.  The only difference in the latter scene is that earlier Lazarus desired to bridge the gap but could not.  Later in heaven the rich man wanted to cancel the distance but couldn't.  However, in both the instances, the one comfortable would not leave the comfort of their respective present status.  The rich man would not reach out to Lazarus and later Lazarus does not reach out to the rich man in hell.  One cannot and the other would not - each time!

Furthermore, the rich man's last altruistic thought - perhaps the only one - or requesting Lazarus to go down to earth to warn his brothers, qualifies him for some "heaven". Even in that agony he is thinking of the good of someone other than himself - even though it is his own kinsmen.

So honestly speaking there is no big difference in both the scenes. Heaven does not seem any better than earth.  Perhaps the last line of the parable (... even if the dead were to appear, they would not change...) has something to do with trying to correct this weird imagery of heaven.  

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