This Parable is a Wake-Up Call & Important for the Tragedy of Our Times
Traditional Catholic Sermon | The Daily Knight
“Between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing”
Brethren in Christ our Lord!
As we continue our Lenten journey through the second week, giving thanks for gathering at the altar to worship God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of the Ages which unites us with the times of the apostles, martyrs and saints – and feeds us with the full dogmatic truth of the Catholic Faith uncorrupted by modernism and liberalism- the word of God comes to us with a powerful message for our Lenten journey of repentance and metanoia.
The parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is simply stunning in its depth of meaning, but also it is unique in its character. For here Lord Jesus focuses our attention on the truth about our destiny after death. That is why this parable is so important for the tragedy of our times is that our culture has become worldly, focused on building an earthly kingdom of mythical progress, universal peace, prosperity, climate control, multi-culturalism, genderism and all other such insane utopias, while pushing the awareness of eternity and of salvation of our souls far away from us.
And this has unfortunately penetrated into the Church, whereby liberal shepherds want the church to become a sort of a non-governmental organization focused on social and environmental issues rather than bringing souls to Christ. Recall how not long ago, Cardinal Brandmuller issued a warning about the German bishops’ document pushing for the synodal way in the Church, where there is nothing about sin, repentance, supernatural grace, or taking up one’s cross; there is no mention of death, judgment, and eternal life.
Instead, this document is overflowing with LGBT, saving planet earth and gender equality. So the good cardinal asks: “But what is understood there by religion, Christianity, the Catholic Church”? And he answers: It is indeed “atheism in Christianity”-and the “Church is only a socio-cultural – and among so many others – superfluous NGO!”
These days, as the anniversary of pope Francis’ election is near, the media are overflowing with propaganda how the pope wants the church to be “progressive” and “inclusive” – engaged with the urgent social issues of our time, and only those nasty conservative bishops and faithful of the Latin Mass stand in the way. Yet, no one notices that in this “progressive” vision of the church, Christ our Lord is effectively gone – the Gospel is turned into a Marxist social message stripped of any super-natural meaning; not focused on grace and the salvation of souls, but on political utopia and social welfare here and now.
So in light of the crisis of our time, this parable is a wake-up call especially since it offers us a good opportunity to meditate on the fate of the rich man suffering torments in hell.
We should consider it grace as in the past half century, the topic of hell and eternal punishment was practically non-existent, if not forbidden in the Novus Ordo liturgy.
Faithful shepherds, like Bishop Fulton Sheen, over decades of preaching and teaching, were tirelessly warning Catholics that the greatest triumph of Satan is to convince people that he does not exist. We remember the reactions to pope Benedict’s teaching on the reality of eternal damnation for those who reject God and His mercy; – in the western countries liberal theologians and clergy rose in an outcry –“how dare he” – this is some “outdated medieval stories about hell and the devil.”
Hell is the truth of faith which the modern world is most vehemently opposed to; denying and ridiculing it. Why? Because ours is the post-Enlightenment world, permeated with the utopian idea of the perfectibility of man who by reason alone can build paradise on earth. Enlightenment pushed God away and consequently rejected transcendence - heaven was now to be here on earth and not in some eternity. Faith in God was replaced by mythical faith in “progress” allegedly unstoppable, creating heaven on earth. Three centuries of this utopia, experienced by our world in most horrific catastrophes of totalitarian barbarism with tens of millions of victims, have proven that without God, man can only produce hell on earth.
Paradoxically, denying hell – man is most likely to produce it.
So what is Jesus teaching us in this amazing parable?
The fundamental truth affirmed by Our Lord is this - we are destined for eternal life!
Death is not the end of life only a passage to eternity. The Rich Man and Lazarus live after death, though in places separated by an unbridgeable abyss. As Our Lord focuses more on the fate of the Rich Man, the crux of his teaching refers to the reality of eternal punishment as the natural consequence of a person's deeds on earth.
Those who ridicule the teaching on hell and sadly it includes "progressive theologians and clergy" only deceive themselves and others and bear heavy responsibility for the damnation of the souls they deceived.
Brethren in Christ our Lord, as on this day the word of God presents to us the stunning parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, one aspect is especially poignant to us in our Lenten journey of metanoia - each person prepares his heaven or hell already here on earth!
Our fate in eternity begins here in this life. Where we choose to go after death is a natural consequence of where we chose to be in life. Our experience of life proves this abundantly. Where people love God and one another; where they desire do good and avoid evil - there is a for-taste of heaven. But where people are incapable of loving and being loved; where they delight in doing evil - there hell begins.
We are created for eternal life but given free will, we can choose whether eternity be with God or without God.
We make that choice here, every day of our earthly life. We are blessed to be in this chapel worshipping God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of All Time, which feeds us with the full Catholic Truth about our eternal destiny! Here, we are making a free choice for God and His love. May we rejoice, for God tells each one of us deep in our hearts: My child I have prepared heaven for you, and I want you to be with me in eternal joy.
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