Landing on the wrong side of the great chasm for all eternity is as close as dying in a state of mortal sin. Jesus’ parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man teaches this important truth: every person faces at the end of his earthly life the possibility of an eternal, unchangeable destiny. Salvation or damnation. One is good. The other terrifyingly bad.
The parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man reminds us that hell is a real danger. If we reject helping those in need, we might find ourselves permanently residing in the netherworld, pleading for a drop of water to cool our tongue.
The readings of today’s liturgy emphasize one simple truth of our Catholic faith: sin damages us and others. It has serious long-term consequences—even those of an unending, eternal duration. Sin can lead to that terrifying reality we call hell.
People today often think that getting to heaven is easy. All you have to do is be a “nice” person. We dabble in sin regularly, even nearly constantly, telling ourselves “it’s no big deal. God is merciful.”
One cannot be biblically literate without also being introduced to the diabolical influences of Satan. However, people today often disbelieve in Satan and his cohorts, the other fallen angels who went agreeably along with his choice to forever reject God.