Thursday of the Second week of Lent – 17 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Jeremias 17:5-10, Luke 16:19-31
“Deign, O God, to rescue me; O Lord, make haste to help me … ” – Psalm 69:2
“There was a rich man,
who was clothed in purple
and fine linen
and who feasted sumptuously everyday.
And at his gate lay a poor man,
“… A CERTAIN MAN, it is said, living in great wickedness, was rich and he experienced no ill fortune but all good things flowed to him as from a perennial fountain. For that nothing undesirable happened to him – no cause of trouble – none of the ills of human lif, is implied when it is said, that “he feasted sumptuously everyday.”
AND THAT HE LIVED wickedly is clear from the end allotted to him and even before his end, from the neglect which he displayed in the case of the poor man – for, that he felt pity neither for the poor man at his gate, nor for any other, he himself showed. …
BUT HE HAD NO FEELINGS, he was more severe and harsh than that judge who neither feared God nor regarded man. For the judge, although so cruel and stern, was moved by the perseverance of the widow to be gracious and listen to her petition but this man, could not even thus be induced to give aid to the poor man, notwithstanding that his petition was not like that of the widow but much easier and fairer. …
WHEN WE ARE URGED, we frequently feel annoyed but when we see those who need our help remaining in perfect silence and saying not a word and although always failing to gain their object, not bearing it hardly but. only appearing before us in silence, even though we are more unfeeling than the very stones, we are shamed and moved by such exceeding humility.
THERE IS ALSO another circumstance of not less weight, namely, that the very appearance of the poor man was pitiable, since he was emaciated by hunger and long sickness. Yet none of these things influenced that cruel man. …
STILL IT CAME TO PASS that a man living in wickedness and inhumanity enjoyed every kind of good fortune and a just and virtuous man lingered in the greatest ills. For that Lazarus was a just man is made plain, as in the other case, by his end and even before his end, by his patience and poverty. Do you not, indeed, seem to see these things present before our eyes?” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (Excerpt First Discourse on Luke 16:19-31)