A Catholic reads the Bible, week 43: Judgment from beyond the grave

(CNN)My father was known for his dry sense of humor. One day, my cousin did something of which my deceased grandmother would not have approved.

My father looked at his nephew and said, "Nonna is spinning in her grave right now like a rotisserie chicken."
We all laughed, and my cousin had a vivid image to think about.
    For some reason, that story popped into my head while I read the story of the rich man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke.
    The nameless rich man ignores the pauper Lazarus during his lifetime and doesn't share his wealth -- not even scraps of food from his table. When they both die, Lazarus ends up in heaven and the rich man winds up in the "netherworld, where he is in torment."
    Questioning his fate, the rich man is informed by Abraham that he's in hell because he didn't share his blessings with people like Lazarus. The rich man says that he wants to go back and warn his brothers, but Abraham tells him, "They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them."
    My grandmother was devoutly religious, but she was no Abraham. Still, the point is the same, isn't it? Judgment delivered from beyond the grave.
    There are many times that I have thought about my actions being judged by God. Have I been good or just good enough?
    My mother was clear that we had to live our lives taking care of others -- donations of time and money have always been central in our actions. But I couldn't stop thinking about my grandmother and how to judge actions.
    Wouldn't it be great if you could get guidance from your dead relatives? And that's why the Lazarus story kept coming back to me. (By the way, was Lazarus a super-popular name in Jesus' time? The leper was named Lazarus, too.)
    When the rich man didn't like the explanation in the prophets' message, Abraham responds, "If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead."
    Abraham is engaging in a prophecy here of Jesus' death and the saving purpose of his life on earth. As the footnote points out: "A foreshadowing in Luke's Gospel of the rejection of the call to repentance even after Jesus' resurrection."
    And maybe this connection only has relevance to me, but as this project starts to come to its completion, I am getting sentimental. There were days during Numbers that I never thought I would get here. But, I am and I feel like my faith has grown.
    You have to live your life in your faith (and ask forgiveness here and not later).
    And if even my Nonna was a family prophet, my cousin ended up not listening to my Dad. But it is still a great line.