After offering several parables about the obsession with, and the misuse of wealth, Christ gives 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 in his front yard, the poor Lazarus is starving, tormented by wild dogs who lick at his wounds.

Both die and go to Hades, a realm of the dead where all who die reside prior to Christ’s opening of Heaven after His Resurrection. Though in Hades, Lazarus enters in the relative comfort of Abraham’s bosom, being united with the just of the Old Testament. Because of his callous disregard for Lazarus’ plight, the Rich Man is cast into depths of Hades where the evil reside in suffering in eternity.

Christ reveals disturbing details of the plight of the damned. 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.

1) It is sometimes easy to fail to grasp the astounding divine nature of Christ. During Lent, renew your understanding of our Creed’s profession that Christ “descended into Hell” (CCC 631-637) and be awed by Christ’s power and mercy.

2) During Lent, reconfirm your belief in the Creed’s profession, I believe in life everlasting (CCC 1020-1060), do a thorough Examination of Conscience at be cleansed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

3) The Rich Man doesn’t make excuses; he had seen Lazarus’ daily suffering. During Lent, reflect on the Mortal Sin of Ignoring Suffering (CCC 1859, 1033, 1825, 2208, 2443-2454) and pray for Christ to help you always respond to the needs of the suffering and the poor.