I don’t know if you’re like me but for a long time I wondered if hell really existed. When I was in school, we sometimes talked about it with boys and girls. There were some who said existed and others that it was a made-up story. In any case, me, I was scared, but since I know the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, I no longer ask myself the question, I am rather reassured. Jesus reveals to us what happens when people die. I suggest you listen now to this parable that you will find in the Gospel of Luke in chapter 16. And here is the question of the day: What comes after death?
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Full text of this story :
LAZARE AND THE RICH MAN
There was a rich man, always dressed in precious clothes, who lived in a sumptuous House. He had many friends around him and servants in his service. He could buy anything he wanted, but he didn’t care about God or others. He lived only for himself and for his pleasure. Every day, he organized great meals and wonderful parties where they had a lot of fun. He lived in luxury and rejected the thought of death. Maybe he thought he was eternal? Right next to him lived a beggar dressed in rags, his body covered with ulcers, purulent wounds. It was Lazarus. Have you ever heard that name? It means “God has helped”. Lazarus was alone, without a friend, no one to look after him. The dogs who came to lick his wounds were his only companions. Every day the poor man was laying in front the portal of the rich man’s house. A lot of food was thrown away in this house and he would have liked to pick up some to calm his hunger with the leftovers of the rich man’s meals, at least the little bits falling from his table, but no one gave him any. However, there was one thing that comforted him and gave him the courage to live. Do you know what that was? He was convinced that even if no one cared for him, God would not abandon him. He loved God and trusted Him. One day he died. No one cried, no one talked about it and we don’t know what became of his body, but we know that God sent angels to get his soul and take it to paradise. The rich man also died. He left his beautiful house, his luxurious clothes and the great parties; it was all over for him. His body was placed in a beautifully decorated tomb, he was given a beautiful funeral, all of his rich friends, and all of his neighbors were present. But what about his soul? What happened to it? It went to hell and there it suffered cruelly. He looked up and saw very far away, in a place of rest, of peace, Abraham, the prophets and all those who had loved God during their life on earth and next to them he saw Lazarus. Then the rich man exclaimed: – Abraham, have mercy on me! So send Lazarus to dip his fingertip in the water and cool my tongue, because I’m in terrible pain here. But Abraham answered him: – Remember, during your life, you were very rich, you had so many good things, you had your share of happiness while Lazarus, who was in misery, was deprived of everything now, here, he is consoled while you, you suffer in torments. It is impossible for him to go towards you, between you and us, there is a great abyss and even if we wanted to, we couldn’t move from one place to another. The rich man then thought of his five brothers who still lived on the earth. He knew they no longer cared about God; they went on with their lives as if he did not exist. He said to Abraham: – In that case, please, Abraham, at least send Lazarus to warn my brothers so that he tells them what’s going on, so they don’t come here to this place of torment. I wouldn’t want them to endure this horrible suffering too. – It’s useless! They have the Word of God, they know the Ten Commandments, they know what Moses and the prophets said. Let them obey the Word of God! The rich man remembered that he too, on earth, had known the Word of God, but had neglected it. So he insisted: – No, Father Abraham, I am sure that if some dead man goes to them and tells them everything that happens after death, they will repent, they will ask forgiveness from God for their faults and will change their lives. – No, it’s unnecessary. If they don’t believe what God says, they won’t let themselves convince by a dead person who would come back to life!
1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! In this story, Jesus clearly tells us what happens after death. There is in Hell, a place of torment, of suffering, and there is also a place of rest and joy, Paradise. So what do you think makes some people go to Heaven and others not? Is it the fact of being poor or rich? No, of course, rich or poor is the same. This depends on the choice we make, either we live without caring for God, as if it did not exist, or we decide to spend our lives live loving Him, applying ourselves to do what is pleasant to Him. God leaves us free to choose but He warns us of the consequences. For my part, I made the choice to love God and I am happy and at peace thinking about those who await me when my life ends on earth. I encourage you to make the right choice, to love God wholeheartedly.
4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! Jesus places us very clearly before our responsibility; that’s our attitude towards. God here on earth that determines our future for all eternity. There is no second chance. He came to open heaven for us, he paid the price by dying on the cross, it’s up to us to accept, or not, this salvation that he offers us. It’s the same for our children, let’s continue to teach them the truths of the gospel encourage them and persevere in prayer so that their hearts may open to the grace of God under the action of the Holy Spirit.