And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
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Cornelius a Lapide
And dogs came and licked his sores. Francis Lucas thinks that they did this as if feeding on a dead body, and that they thus caused the poor sufferer much pain, for, S. Chrysostom adds, "he had not the strength to drive them away."
But in another sense the dogs may be considered as cleansing and healing the poor man"s sores. Hence S. Chrysostom says, "The wild animals in compassion lick the sores which no one, much less the rich glutton, cared to cleanse. For the rich, unmindful of the condition of their fellowmen, laugh at misery, and turn away from those whom they ought to pity." S. Ambrose.
S. Chrysostom (hom. De Lazaro), enumerates nine grievous ills to which the poor man was subjected:
1. A poverty so extreme, that he could not even obtain the crumbs which fell from the rich man"s table.
2. A disease so grievous and so weakening, that he was unable to drive away the dogs which gathered round him.
3. Desertion by all, even those who ought to have aided him.
4The constant sight of the rich man"s happiness, for his bodily pains and his grief of mind were increased by the knowledge, that they who were possessed of every enjoyment had no thought or consideration for him.
5. The hard heartedness of the rich Prayer of Manasseh , who passed him by, without a kind word or look.
6. His loneliness, for "it is pleasant to have a companion in misfortunes."
7. Uncertainty as to the future, for since the coming of Christ, faith in the resurrection of the dead is a wonderful support in affliction.
8. The long continuance and constancy of his sufferings.
9. The loss of reputation, for many thought that his sufferings were a direct punishment for some great crime. But, like another Job , he bore all his trials with fortitude and an undaunted mind. Hence God has set forth Lazarus, Job , Tobias and S. Lydwina, whose sufferings are recorded by Sirius, to be as long as the world last examples of patience to all who are sick and afflicted