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Climb the Fence!

There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day
Amos 6:1,4-7; Psalm 146:7-10; I Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31

Sermon Week Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Scripture Summary Luke 16:19

In Southern Florida, a signboard in front of a country Church announces the title of the next Sunday's sermon. Once, in the middle of a particularly intense heat-wave, the pastor posted a title which left no doubt about the upcoming sermon topic:


"Life with Father," has been called one of the most enchanting comedies ever produced on the Broadway stage. In the play, there is a heartwarming scene in which "Father" and his wife "Vinnie" are having a playful conversation about getting into Heaven. "Getting me into Heaven is your job," says Father. "Everybody loves you so much; I'm sure God must, too." To which Vinnie replies, "I'll do my best. It wouldn't be Heaven without you." Father then promises, "If you're in Heaven, Vinnie, I'll manage to get in some way – even if I have to climb the fence."

Unlike those two stories about Heaven and Hell, there is nothing funny about Jesus' story of "afterlife" in today's lesson:

Once there was a rich man who lived in great luxury. He dressed in the most exquisite designer clothes. He feasted sumptuously every day and used the leftovers from his table to feed the street people who were at his door. One was a poor man named Lazarus. He came every day to the rich man's door, depending on those leftovers for his very survival. Moreover, his body was covered with sores. And the dogs came and licked the sores. It came to pass that the rich man died and went to Hades, where he suffered terribly. The poor man died and went to Heaven, where he rested in the bosom of Abraham. The rich man called across the chasm between Hades and Heaven: "Father Abraham, send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame" (Lk. 16:24). Father Abraham reminded the rich man that in his previous life, he had all the right things, and Lazarus had none. But now it is all reversed. Moreover, Abraham said [...]

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