Sunday, September 30, 2007

Another Anti-capitalism Sunday

Luke xvi.

13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Last week we had one of Jesus's lessons in truth and logic. today we continue the chapter in Luke with Dives and Lazarus, the rich man and the poor man.

19 There was a certain rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen; and feasted sumptuously every day.

20 And there was a certain beggar, named Lazarus, who lay at his gate, full of sores,
21 Desiring to be filled with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table, and no one did give him; moreover the dogs came, and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom. And the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell.
23 And lifting up his eyes when he was in torments, he saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom:
24 And he cried, and said: Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, to cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.

25 And Abraham said to him: Son, remember that thou didst receive good things in thy lifetime, and likewise Lazareth evil things, but now he is comforted; and thou art tormented.
26 And besides all this, between us and you, there is fixed a great chaos: so that they who would pass from hence to you, cannot, nor from thence come hither.
27 And he said: Then, father, I beseech thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father's house, for I have five brethren,
28 That he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torments.
29 And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.
30 But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them
from the dead, they will do penance.
31 And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.

Now, this tells and suggests so much in how the rich regard the poor and much else: Lazarus is in the limbo of the fathers (the bosom of Abraham), for Jesus has not, yet, harrowed hell and opened the gates of heaven. And from this limbo, now empty, hell proper was visible, and vice versa, but uncrossable. And for those who would not believe and heed the prophets, even Jesus they would not believe, if and when, he would rise from the dead.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. Saint Jerome. c.1605. Rome.

Today is also St. Jerome's day. Every day is someone's. Now, St. Jerome was an ill-tempered, one eyed hermit, but he also translated Scripture into the vulgar tongue, so that it was further transmitted, to us. Still his Vulgate is the official standard. Many of the manuscripts he used are forever unavailable to us, and if God granted him discernment, it is to our benefit.

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