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Why rich man went to hell

In the gospel of this 26th Sunday gospel (Lk 16,19-31). Jesus relates about a rich man (Dives) and a poor man (Lazarus).

Both the rich man and Lazarus die. Their fortunes are completely reversed. Lazarus is now enjoying the higher position. He is in the “bosom of Abraham” while the rich man is suffering in eternal torment in Hades (hell).

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The rich man was condemned to Hell not because he was rich but rather because of his callousness and insensitivity to help the needy as symbolized by the beggar Lazarus.

The sin of the rich was OMISSION. So wrapped up in his flamboyant, luxurious lifestyle, he omitted to offer even food scraps to a poor man.

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Once there was an elderly miser who had vast real estate holdings. Suddenly he became extremely ill.

His temperature soared to over 40 Celsius. A doctor was called in but after examining the patient, he said, “Madam, I must tell you that your husband is terminally ill. He cannot possibly survive. All I can suggest to you is prayer.”

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Hearing this, the worried husband told his wife, “Go out and find some needy person and share our wealth. Then go to church and pray that God may spare my life.”

The wife immediately went to the most depressed area of the town and gave a big amount of money to some poor families. Then she went to the church and fervently prayed. Whereupon, the patient’s condition rapidly improved and, miraculously, he had completely recovered.

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When the old miser heard that she had given a big sum of their money to the poor, he was angry. “Why did you do such a thing?” he bellowed. “But you yourself told me to give the money,” she told him.

To which he replied, “But with my temperature over 40 Celsius, didn’t you know I was delirious then? I didn’t know what I was saying!”

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You may laugh at the answer but aren’t we in a way like him at times? Even if we have more than enough material possessions, we hold on to them tightly.

One of the best tests of our freedom from attachment is our willingness to share, to part off with what we possess.

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The teaching of the Lord is both a reminder and a WARNING. Jesus’ warning is scary because if we fail to reach out to the needy and underprivileged, we will be punished. This is what happened to Dives, the rich man.

Think about that.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE. No matter how many luxury cars millionaires may have, when they grow old their favorite ride is the WHEELCHAIR.

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Beggar to a wealthy man passing by: “Please, sir, be kind … even if it’s only for a cup of coffee. Rich man: “Here…this will buy you 10 cups of coffee.”

After a week, the beggar meets the rich man and said angrily: “Hey you, I almost died. The 10 cups of coffee caused me hypertension!” (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)