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Luke 16: 19-31

The rich man refuses to give alms to a poor man full of sores who was lying at his gate (JEROME). In contrast to the rich man, Lazarus the poor man is pathetic and pitiable (CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA). Yet Jesus names this poor man, suggesting his importance in God's sight and that his name is written in heaven,' while the rich man's name is not recorded in Scripture or in heaven (AUGUSTINE). The name Lazarus means "one who has been helped" (JEROME). The image is striking. Jesus uses figurative language here to describe the great chasm that exists between the torment of hell with its fire and the consolation of heaven in the bosom of Abraham (GREGORY OP NYSSA). Lazarus, a poor man of faith, is received by Abraham, a rich man of faith (AUGUSTINE). The rich man feasted on earth, but Lazarus now feasts in heaven as his soul finds rest in the bosom of Abraham (PRUDENTIUS),

The rich man is burning in the fires of hell while he can see on the other side of the chasm the fountains of paradise (EPHREM THE SYRIAN). The souls of the wicked clearly experience the pain of the fires of hell (GREGORY THE GREAT). Abraham, who had mercy on Sodom, is not able to show mercy to this rich man in hades (EPHREM THE SYRIAN). He now desires a drop of water when during his life he would not give Lazarus a drop or a crumb (PETER CHYRSOLOGUS). The reason the rich man does not receive mercy now- the good thing-is because he did not show mercy in his life (AUGUSTINE).

This account illuminates the story of the unrighteous steward, for saints make friends for themselves by feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty. The Pharisees need to become like the unrighteous steward by seeing that their Lord is Jesus and, relying on his mercy, to give alms to people like Lazarus (AUGUSTINE). Could the five brothers be the rich man's senses who enslaved him in riches on earth and sent him to the torment of hades? (JEROME). During his life, the rich man ignored Moses and the prophets and may have even ridiculed them (AUGUSTINE). If they refuse to hear Moses and the prophets, they are refusing to hear Christ, who speaks through them (JEROME).

16;19-22 The Life and Death of the Rich Man and Lazarus

THE RICH MAN DOES NOT GIVE ALMS. JEROME: The rich man, in purple splendor, is not accused of being greedy or of carrying off the property of another, or of committing adultery, or, in fact, of any wrongdoing. The evil alone of which he is guilty is pride. Most wretched of men, you see a member of your own body lying there outside at your gate, and have you no compassion? If the laws of God mean nothing to you, at least take pity on your own situation and be in fear, for perhaps you might become like him. Give 8888 what you waste to your own member. I am not

telling you to throw away your wealth. What you throw out, the crumbs from your table, offer as alms. ON LAZARUS AND DIVES.2


NEED OF LAZARUS. JEROME: Lazarus was lying at the gate in order to draw attention to the cruelty paid to his body and to prevent the rich man from saying,"! did not notice him. He was in a corner. I could not see him. No one announced him to me." He lay at the gate. You saw him every time you went out and every time you came in. When your crowds of servants and clients were attending you, he lay there full of ulcers. ON LAZARUS AND DIVES.3


CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA: Cue off from compassion and care, he would have gladly gathered the worthless morsels that fell from the rich man's table to satisfy his hunger. A severe and incurable disease also tormented him. Yes, it says that even the dogs licked his sores and did not injure him yet sympathized with him and cared for him. Animals relieve their own sufferings with their tongues, as they remove what pains them and gently soothe the sores. The rich man was cruder than the dogs, because he felt no sympathy or compassion for him but was completely unmerciful. COMMENTARY ON LUKE in.4


AUGUSTINE: Jesus kept quiet about the rich man's name and mentioned the name of the poor man. The rich man's name was thrown around, but God kept quiet about it. The other's name was lost in silence, and God spoke it. Please do not be surprised. God just read out what was written in his book..,. You see. God who lives in heaven kept quiet about the rich man's name, because he did not find it written in heaven. He spoke the poor man's name, because he found it written there, indeed he gave instructions for it to be written there. SERMON 33A.4.5


HELPED." JEROME: "There was a certain poor man, named Lazarus." The meaning of Lazaruss name is ... one who has been helped. He is not a helper bur one who has been helped. He was a poor man, and in his poverty, the Lord came to his assistance. ON LAZARUS AND Dives,6

16:23-26 Heavenly Life and Eternal

FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE DESCRIBES HEAVEN AND HELL. GREGORY OF NYSSA: I said, "What are the fire, the gulf, or the other things which are mentioned, if they are not what they are said to be?"

"It seems to me," she [Macrina] said, "that the Gospel wishes, through each of these details, to indicate some opinions concerning what we are seeking in connection with the soul. The patri-arch says to the rich man, 'You had your share of goods during your life in the flesh.' He also says concerning the beggar, 'This man fulfilled his duty by his experience of hardship during his life.' By the gulf separating the one from the other. Scripture seems to me to set forth an important belief.... This, in my opinion, is the gulf, which is not an earthly abyss that the judgment between the two opposite choices of life creates. Once one has chosen the pleasure of this life and has not remedied this bad choice by a change of heart, he produces for himself a place empty of good hereafter. He digs this unavoidable necessity for himself like some deep and trackless pit.

"It seems to me that Scripture uses the 'bosom of Abraham,' in which the patient sufferer finds rest, as a symbol of the good state of the soul. This patriarch was the first person recorded to have chosen the hope of things to come in preference to the enjoyment of the moment. Deprived of everything he had in the beginning of his life, living among strangers, he searched for a future prosperity through present affliction. We use the word bosom when referring figuratively to a part of the outline of the sea. It seems to me that Scripture uses the word bosom as a symbol of the immeasurable goals toward which those who sail virtuously through life will come to when having departed from life. They anchor their souls in this good bosom as in a quiet harbor." on the soul AND THE RESURRECTION.fear not riches as such BUT greed.

augustine: I think that we have proved that Christ did not object to the riches of the rich man but to his impiety, infidelity, pride and cruelty....

The rich must not start saying that I have agreed to be their advocate. They felt afraid, after all, when reminded of the gospel. When they heard about the rich man hurled into the pains of hell, they felt afraid. I have reassured them. They do not need to fear riches but vices. They should not fear wealth but greed. They should not be afraid of goods but of greed. Let them possess wealth like Abraham, and let them possess it with faith. Let them have it, possess it and not be possessed by it. sermon 299E.S.

the soul rests IN THE patriarch's bosom. prudentius:

But until the perishable body You will raise up, O God, and refashion, What mansion of rest is made ready For the soul that is pure and unsullied? It shall rest in the patriarch's bosom As did Lazarus, hedged round with flowers, Whom Dives beheld from a distance While he burned in the fires everlasting. hymn for every day 10.I49-56.

fountains ON one side, fire ON THE other. ephrem THE syrian:

This place, despised and spurned

By the denizens of paradise, Those who burn in Gehenna hungrily desire; Their torment doubles

At the sight of its fountains they quiver violently. As they stand on the opposite side; The rich man, too, begs for succor But there is no one to wet his tongue, For fire is within them, While the water is opposite them. hymns on paradise i.i7.

the souls OF THE wicked suffer THE painof fire. gregory the great: From the words of Scripture, we gather that the soul suffers from the burning heat not only through its sense of sight but also by actually experiencing the pain. We know from Christ's words that the rich man was burned in hell. His prayer to Abraham de­clares that his soul was held in fire. He says, "Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in wa­ter, and cool my tongue. I am tormented in this flame." Since Christ describes the condemned sinner Dives surrounded by the flames of hell, no one with understanding would deny that fire holds fast the souls of the wicked. dialogue 4.30.

the fruits OF pardon must be seen IN those pardoned. ephrem the syrian: The

Lord compared the priests of the people with him who was clothed in purple. Nothing is more hon­ored than purple clothing. He compared the dis­ciples of the cross with Lazarus. There were none more lowly than Lazarus was. He revealed the name of his beloved ones through Lazarus, his beloved one. He also wished to reveal the name of his enemies through the words, "If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets." It is not the case that all those living are alive, or that all those buried are dead.

See, the more the rich man lived sumptuously, the more Lazarus was humbled! The more Laz­arus was made low, the greater was his crown. Why should he have seen Abraham above all the just, and Lazarus in his bosom? He saw him because Abraham loved the poor and so that we might learn that we cannot hope for pardon at the end, unless the fruits of pardon can be seen in us. If Abraham, who was friendly to strangers and had mercy on Sodom, was not able to have mercy on the one who did not show pity to Lazarus, how can we hope that there will be pardon for us? That man called him "my father," and Abraham called him "my son," but he was nor able to help him. "Remember, my son, that you re-ceived good things during your life and Lazarus evil things." COMMENTARY ON TATIAN'S DIATES-SARON 15.12-13.12


"Send Lazarus." As I see the matter, the rich man's actions spring not from new pain but from ancient envy. This hell does not kindle his jealousy as much as Lazarus's possession of heaven. People find it a serious evil and unbearable fire to see in happiness those whom they once held in con-tempt. The rich man's ill will does not leave him, although he already endures its punishment. He does not ask co be led to Lazarus but wants Lazarus to be led to him. O rich man, loving Abraham cannot send to the bed of your tortures Lazarus whom you did not condescend to admit to your table. Your respective fortunes have now been reversed. You look at the glory of him whose misery you once spurned. He who wondered at you in your glory sees your tortures. SERMON


THE MEASURE You GIVE SHALL BE GIVEN TO You. AUGUSTINE: "Remember, son, that you received good things in your life, and Lazarus like-wise bad things." He assigns pain in return for riches, refreshment in return for poverty, flames in return for purple and joy in return for naked-ness. The equal balance of the scales will be maintained. The standard of measurement will not be proved false that says, "The measure you give will

 be the measure you get."14 The reason he refuses to show mercy to the rich man in his pain is that while he lived the rich man neglected to show mercy. The reason why he ignored the rich man's pleas in his torment is that he ignored the poor man's pleas on earth. SERMON 367.2.ls

THE RICH MAN DID NOT MAKE FRIENDS WITH HIS UNRIGHTEOUS MAMMON. AUGUSTINE: Why then, rich man, do you desire too late in hell what you never hoped for while you were enjoying your luxuries? Are you not the one who ignored the person lying at your gate? Are you not the one who in your disdain for the poor man made fun of Moses and the prophets? You refused to hold faith with a neighbor in his poverty; now you do not enjoy his good times.16

We should not hold faith with a poor neighbor in such a way that we hope riches are coming to him in due course, and so we keep faith with him in order to hold them with him. That is not the way at all. What is the way is in line with our Lord's instruction, "Make friends for yourselves with the mammon of iniquity, so that they too may receive you in the eternal dwellings."17 There are poor people here who have no dwellings where they themselves can receive you. Make friends of them with the mammon of iniquity, the profits that iniquity calls profits. Since there are profits that justice calls profits, they are in God's treasury....

"Whoever receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. Whoever gives one of my little ones a cup of cold water simply in the name of a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will not lose his reward."18 He holds faith with a neighbor in his poverty, and therefore he will en-joy his good things. SERMON 41.5-6.19

16:27-31 On Hearing Moses and the Prophets


NEED. JEROME: Your father is Abraham. How can you say, "Send him to my father's house"? You have not forgotten your father. You have not for-gotten that your father destroyed you. Since he was your father, you have five brothers; sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. These are the brothers to whom formerly you were enslaved. Since they were the brothers you loved, you could not love your brother Lazarus. Naturally you could not love him as brother, because you loved them. Those brothers have no love for poverty. Your sight, your sense of smell, your taste, and your sense of touch were your brothers. These brothers of yours loved wealth, and they had no eye for poverty." I have five brothers, that he may testify to them." They are the brothers who sent you into these torments. They cannot be saved unless they die. "Lest they too come into this place of torments." Why do you want to save those brothers who have no love for poverty? Brothers must dwell with their brother. ON LAZARUS AND DIVES 86.20

THE RICH MAN IGNORED AND RIDICULED MOSES AND THE PROPHETS. AUGUSTINE: He and his brothers were in the habit of making fun of the prophets. I imagine and have no doubt at all that he talked with his brothers about the prophets. He talked about their urging us to do good and forbidding us to do wrong, and their frightening us with torments to come and promising rewards to come. He made fun of all this and said with his brothers, "What life is there after death? What does rottenness in the grave re-member? What do ashes feel? Everyone is carried there and buried. Whoever came back from there and was heard?" That is the reason, as he remembered his words, that he wanted Lazarus to go back to his brothers, so that now they would not say, "Whoever came back from there?" This also has a very suitable and proper answer. This man, you see, seems to have been a Jew. That is why he said, "Father Abraham." He got an excellent and fitting answer/If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if one should rise from the dead." This was fulfilled with the Jews, because they did not listen to Moses and the prophets, nor did they believe Christ when he rose. Had he not foretold this to them before, "If you believed Moses, you would also believe me"? 21 SERMON 41.4.22

NOT HEARING CHRIST. JEROME: "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, they will not believe even if someone rises from the dead." "If you believed Moses, you would believe me also, for he wrote of me."23 Do you now see what Abraham means? You do well to wait for him who will rise from the dead, but Moses and the prophets proclaim that he is the One who is going to rise from the dead. Christ, in fact, speaks in them. If you hear them, you will also hear him. ON LAZARUS AND DIVES 86.24


Luke 16: 19-31  
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