In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit
In this event it is spoken of two utterly different personalities – a very rich man and the poor Lazarus.The former lived in affluence and indulgence, the latter in poverty and misery. The former was a lover of sin, the latter was a lover of righteousness and chastity. In a word, the former was ungodly by the way of his life, and the latter was pious and lover of God.
The rich man by the way of his life inherited a positionconcordant to his lifestyle, without God and away from God, which is hell and eternal torture. Even his name is not known. He may have been the richest man of his lifetime and the most glorious one, but remained unknown to eternity. The poor Lazarus always had God before him and because of Him endured everything and for everything he was thankful to God. He never said a bad word to anyone; neither to those that mocked him nor to God. Because of that, after his death he inherited the place where he belonged, which is in the bosom of Abraham, i.e. the place where righteous people abide. His name is eternally written in the book of God and today we joyfully remember him, although he probably used to be the least important, the most humiliated and the most ridiculed man of his time.
What determined them to end, one in the place oftorture and pain, and the other in eternal joy and comfort, is neither their richness nor poverty, but their relationship towards God, their relationship towards the people and their relationship towards their material condition as given from God. Certainly, it cannot be guaranteed that you will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven if you are poor, or vice versa, if you are rich – that you will end in hell. On the contrary, both rich and poor may end in either heaven or hell. In other words, if the poor do not give thanks to God for their condition, or the sick for their sickness, but what is more, they exert anger fortheir sickness, condemn and hate others, they will also not inherit the kingdom of God. The rich, if they don’t help the poor, if they use their richness to underestimate others and undervalue them, they will also not inherit the Kingdom of God.
The rich reached the top in this world, while Lazarus reached the bottom. But in death all that is earthly disappears like a dream and a shadow. Death is the door, it is the gate through which we enter true reality. Death is a Passover from the iconic to the real, from the temporal to the eternal. Death is the state of facing the truth. Therefore, it is very important how we live here on earth, as after death we will get eternal inheritance according to our life here on earth. We are not supposed to expect radical changes in the state of our soul. It is death that will show us our true spiritual state in the most realistic manner.
In death the body dies. The soul departs the body and remains in existence without the body. If the soul got attached to the body and to the world, in death it feels even greater emptiness and sorrow because it misses the carnal pleasures to which it was accustomed. Such people discard God, they do not have love towards the others, they think only for themselves, but after death they cannot please their passions, and this is the state of hell, suffering and absence of God.
Spiritual people, who offer to God all their life, all their hope and longings, live mystically in the Church according to God’s commandments. In the struggle of cleansing their heart from the passions and acquiring the mind-and-heart prayer, they get to know God through His graceful energies, and thus they establish the communion with the Lord, which after death gets real existence.
When the rich man from the evangelical event found himself in such a condition, he asked that a dead man arise and go to inform his brothers, that is, all those who live in the same manner, so that they would be able to save their souls after death, and avoid the tortures. His request was not granted because all those who do not fulfill God’s commandments and walk the wide path of destruction, they have their spiritual eyes closed, that is, they have their mind darkened, so they are not able to see and recognize God. They remain closed to God’s grace, and to God Himself. They fill their lives with passions and get captured and darkened by their passions and are unable to know the truth. A man accustomed to such loose way of life is very difficult to approach repentance.
Nothing happens in a magical or in an instant way. They will have to change their lifestyle, those that are attached to the passions, that is, they will have to repent, to change their minds. This is because life in Christ seeks fulfilling of the commandments and livingaccording to the Holy Tradition. So, if we do not accept the commandments of God in this life, then we will not believe Him, even if He really appears before us.
Therefore, let us pay attention to the content of our life, let us all have love and respect to everyone, but most importantly, let us give thanks to God for everything, in order to inherit the position together with the poor Lazarus. Amen.