St. Gregory the Theologian
The rich opened his eyes slowly.
It was then when he saw Lazarus in Abraham’s arms.
The man who did not even condescend to look at, when he found him waiting outside his door.
And then he understood well what this means, which he did not want to understand before.
He was compelled to go to Hell, whether he wanted to or not, to make a review. There, he had to find what did not allow him to see his “neighbour” in the face of poor Lazarus: that is a fellow man, and he had to expect that he could at some point find himself in his place; and, for that, he owed to sympathize him.
Let’s take a look at the miserable situation the rich man found himself later.
He reached the opposite end! He had a great deal of abundance before.
He was celebrating, in every way he could.
And then he lost everything. The more he thought of the big contrast, the more it bothered him.
So he called to him, “Father Abraham, have pity on me.
And send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” (Luke 16:24).
From these words, of course, we must not conclude that a drop of water is enough to relieve and cool.
These words only tell us that those who have many sins, will suffer much, will endure a lot from that terrible fire; from the weight of their sin.
From these words of the rich, we only learn that:
In the final judgment of the Lord the punishment will be something similar to our internal misery.
The rich, driven from the miserable situation he was in, was forced to ask for a drop of water.
Here on earth, driven by his avarice and ruthlessness, he had come not to give even a drop of water.
Could he ever find a fairer situation for him, to its smallest details and at the same time more painful?
He asks for a drop of water.
Who? He who did not give a breadcrumb to the poor.
God made him crave a drop of water.
He made him understand what a terrible thing poverty is.
And how much we need to be compassionate to poverty.