Jesus warns of eternal damnation for the lack of charity in the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Fortitude from the Holy Spirit so he can identify and confront his many sins of omission and by building the Virtue of Generosity so he can reject indifference to the suffering of others and become abundantly generous.
26th Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle C – Lk 16:19-31
After offering several parables about the obsession with, and the misuse of, wealth, Jesus teaches the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The parable confirms the truth about life after death, and offers a frightening look into the eternal damnation that awaits those who ignore the plight of the poor. The Rich Man spends his days in the sin of Gluttony, eating exquisite meals, while failing to respond (a Sin of Omission) to the pitiful Lazarus, who lays in his front yard, starving, homeless, and ill, and is tormented by wild street dogs who lick at his wounds.
Both die and go to Hades, a realm of the dead where all who died, resided, prior to Jesus’ opening of Heaven after His Resurrection. Though in Hades and not yet in the Kingdom of Heaven, Lazarus enters the relative comfort of Abraham’s bosom, being united with the just people who lived and died during the times of the Old Testament. Because of his callous disregard for Lazarus’ plight, the Rich Man is cast into the depths of Hades where the evil reside in suffering for eternity.
Jesus reveals disturbing details of the plight of the damned who reside in Hell. The damned are aware of their plight, both in what they are eternally experiencing, and that others (like Lazarus) are comforted. An inferno of flames engulf the evil, leaving them in thirsty anguish. The damned will be without hope, unable to exit the burning Hell or to have any influence on the fates of their families.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be warned by what Jesus reveals about Himself in this parable: Divine Charity, Jesus perfectly demonstrates and demands performance of the Corporal Works of Mercy, including feeding the poor, giving drink to the thirsty, offering shelter for the poor, and caring for the sick (all of which, poor Lazarus did not receive); Son of God, Jesus confirms the awful reality of Hell and provides Hope through the promise of Heaven; Jesus confirms His righteous Vindication (a part of Justice by which men are rewarded or punished for their thoughts and acts) by describing the horrific punishment of those who fail to care for others, and the blessed rewards for those who love God and sacrifice to serve others.
Identify and confront sins of omission
Realize: While some men are currently not in mortal sin, it is a rare man who is not guilty of many sins of omission, just as the Rich Man failed to care for the suffering Lazarus; every Catholic man should tremble at Jesus’ warning about sins of omission and the torments of everlasting Hell and strive to react with generosity to the suffering.
Believe: Reflect upon the Creed’s profession, I believe in life everlasting (CCC 1020-1060).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Fortitude so I can constantly confront and confess my many sins of omission and humbly beg You to help me more consistently help others.
Reject indifference and be abundantly generous
Realize: The Rich Man didn’t make excuses for his indifference for he had seen Lazarus’ daily suffering; Jesus exposes every Catholic man to the extreme want and suffering of many, and no man will be able to deny that he “didn’t see” those in need.
Believe: Reflect upon the mortal sin of Ignoring Suffering (CCC 1859, 1033, 1825, 2208, 2443-2454).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Generosity, help me build the Virtue of Generosity (a part of Justice) so I see those in need, have deep empathy, and compassionately respond to give of myself and my possessions to those who are suffering.