Lazarus, the Rich Man and God’s Judgement

The Gospel According to St. Luke 16:19-31

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with  Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

St. John Chrysostom offers a warning to us based in the above Gospel lesson:

“Indeed, the risk is not for a trifling stake, for, if it should happen – and may it not! – that, death coming upon us unexpectedly, we depart from here uninitiated, even if we have earthly blessings without number, nothing else will welcome us than hell, and the poisonous serpent, and unquenchable fire, and indissoluble bonds. But, may it not be the fate of anyone listening to these words to be tried by that punishment. And we shall not be thus tried if, having been deemed worthy of the mysteries, we build on that foundation gold and silver and precious stones. In this way we shall be able, on departing thither, to appear rich, since we do not leave behind possessions here, but transfer them to safe treasuries there by the hands of the poor, inasmuch as we lend them to Christ. We owe many debts there, not of money, but of sins. Let us, then, lend Him our wealth so that we may receive pardon for our sins. For it is He Himself who acts as judge. Let us not overlook Him here, hungry, in order that He Himself may feed us there. Here let us clothe Him, that He may not send us forth naked from the safe refuge with Him. If we give Him to drink here, we shall not say with the rich  man: ‘Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in the water and cool our tongues.’ If here we receive Him into our homes, there He will prepare many mansions for us. If we go to Him when He is in prison, He Himself will free us also from our bonds. If, when He is a stranger, we take Him in, He will not look down upon us as strangers when we are in the Kingdom of heaven, but will give to us a share in the heavenly City. If we visit Him when He is sick, He Himself will quickly free us also from our infirmities. Accordingly, as persons who receive great things and give little, let us give even that little, that we may secure the great, while it is yet time, let us sow, that we may reap.” (Homilies on St. John 1-47, pgs. 249-250)

2 thoughts on “Lazarus, the Rich Man and God’s Judgement

  1. Pingback: Orthodox Collective

  2. Hi Father Ted, my name is James. Hi! When I read this verses today, I thought of China. The Bible is a mirror, and I see a lot of myself in it. I pray for China, that their ‘Moses’ will be sent to the 5 Chinese brothers soon. Thank you for allowing me to post, and you have a awesome blog!

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