St. John Chrysostom: Lazarus and the Rich Man
On today’s Bible Answer Man broadcast (11/06/20), Hank continues his discussion on the life and teachings of St. John Chrysostom, the golden-mouthed preacher. Hank focuses on the first sermon in the book On Wealth and Poverty, which contains a series of sermons St. John preached on the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. It is noteworthy that St. John began his first sermon on Lazarus and the Rich Man on the second day of January 388—one day after the feast of Saturnalia, a day in which the Stoic satirist Lucius Seneca fulminated something to the effect of the whole mob imbibing itself in the pleasures of hedonism. By contrast, said Chrysostom, the faithful shunned the festival of Satan and partook of the cup of spiritual instruction, fortified themselves with spiritual music, and surrendered their souls to the breath of the Divine Spirit. As contrast is the conduit to clarity, St. John provides us with the stark differences between the rich man and Lazarus. The rich man who practiced luxury every day, and dressed himself splendidly, was preparing himself a more grievous punishment, building himself a greater fire, and making his penalty inexorable and his retribution inaccessible to pardon. While everything seemed to flow to the rich man as from a fountain, he foolishly spent his fortune on parasites and flatterers while Lazarus lay wasting away in hunger. And yet in the end it was Lazarus—not the rich man—who was led away by the angels in triumph while the rich man found himself in torment.
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