Ordinary Time: Proper 21

Lazarus in Abraham’s Bosom by Derek Clarke — oil on canvas, H 240 x W 122 cm, 1998-1999. Photo courtesy of (c) Scottish Catholic Archives; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation,

September 25, 2022 Lectionary Texts — Year C

Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15 and Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 • Amos 6:1a, 4-7 and Psalm 146 • 1 Timothy 6:6-19 • Luke 16:19-31
View Lectionary

Image description: At the top of the artwork a golden portal has opened from heaven revealing Abraham holding the small gray figure of Lazarus in one hand and an open testament in the other. Abraham’s garment is vibrantly patterned in orange and gold with a star studded sky tunic. The city of Jerusalem and surrounding hills provides a background. People throughout the city have noticed the glorious event happening in the sky — many raise their hands in praise. On the right edge we see a rich ruler seated on his throne. He looks straight ahead rather than upward like everyone else. Near the lower left corner is Lazarus’ mat — a pack of dogs lurks nearby. Brilliant blue flames emerging from the bottom of the artwork buoy the rich man as if he floats on them. He is dressed in purple with his hands extending his plea heavenward.

[The rich man] shouted out, “Father Abraham! Please show me mercy! Would you send that beggar Lazarus to dip his fingertip in water and cool my tongue? These flames are hot, and I’m in agony!” But Abraham said, “Son, you seem to be forgetting something: your life was full to overflowing with comforts and pleasures, and the life of Lazarus was just as full with suffering and pain. So now is his time of comfort, and now is your time of agony. — Luke 16:24,25

He who takes refuge in the shelter of the Most High will be safe in the shadow of the Almighty. You will not dread the terrors that haunt the night or enemy arrows that fly in the day or the plagues that lurk in darkness or the disasters that wreak havoc at noon. — Psalm 91:1,5,6

Practicing Visio Divina:

  1. View the artwork
    What do you see?

    Note shapes – color – style – movement
    What stands out for you?
    What are you curious about?
    What questions do you have?
    Hold back any feelings – judgments – opinions
  2. Read the accompanying scripture and look over the artwork again
    What connections do you make?

    Between the image and text?
    What is coming to mind from your own experience?
    What feelings are rising in you?
    Are you uncomfortable with something?
    There are no right or wrong answers
  3. Read the scripture again and explore the artwork a third time
    What do you hear?

    What is God saying to you?
    What do you wish to speak to God?
    What blessing or prayer is rising in you?

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