You received blessings, and Lazarus faced hardships: now he finds solace here, while you endure torment.
Reading from the Gospel according to Luke. Lk 16, 19-31
Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen
and dined sumptuously each day.
And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,
who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps
that fell from the rich man’s table.
Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.
When the poor man died,
he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.
The rich man also died and was buried,
and from the netherworld, where he was in torment,
he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off
and Lazarus at his side.
And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me.
Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue,
for I am suffering torment in these flames.’
Abraham replied, ‘My child,
remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad;
but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.
Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established
to prevent anyone from crossing
who might wish to go from our side to yours
or from your side to ours.’
He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him
to my father’s house,
for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them,
lest they too come to this place of torment.’
But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets.
Let them listen to them.’
He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham,
but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
Then Abraham said,
‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded
if someone should rise from the dead.'”
The Gospel of the Lord
The sole comfort.
Who finds comfort? The beatitudes reveal, those who grieve. There exist two kinds of grief. The first is someone who weeps for having lost or failed to attain a worldly good. But suppose that individual finds or achieves it. Will they find solace? No. They will possess what they dearly wished for, yet another form of suffering emerges: The fear of its loss continues to leave them without comfort. Consider an example from Saint Augustine: Picture a father mourning the loss of a son. Then, another child is born to him. Does he find consolation? No. He experiences the joy of the new child, but concurrently, the fear of losing this one just as he lost the first surfaces. Hence, true consolation arrives only when one yearns for something that, once acquired, will never be lost again. This is the sole form of true comfort, and only God can provide such.
Applied to the context of marriage:
Albert: Martha, we yearn for a bond between us that seems elusive, and at times, this leads to despair. Similarly, in our relationship with the Lord, it feels like we cannot achieve what we observe others experiencing with Him, and this occasionally brings us to tears.
Martha: Indeed, Albert. This anguish over a desire for completeness that God has instilled in us and which we struggle to fulfil is natural. Yet, this anguish is healthy as long as we place our trust in God and believe that He will fulfil it one day. It is a slow and steady journey, but today, the Lord gives me comfort in the knowledge that it will indeed happen one day. Eventually, if we stay true to His will, He will not let us down.
Albert: He never fails us. It’s true, the difference between our past experiences and our current life is vast. Another chasm lies ahead, but having crossed one with God’s help, we will navigate through what remains with His assistance.
We will find comfort for eternal life. Blessed be God who promises us this.