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36. The Parable of the Rich Fool.

Jesus Christ taught, "Take heed and beware of covetousness (that is, beware of the love of accumulating wealth, beware of the attachment to riches), for a man’s life does not consist in abundance of his possessions."

So that people could understand this better, the Lord told them a parable about a rich fool.

The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully, and he thought to himself, "What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?" And he said, "I will do this. I will pull down my barns and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry’."

But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?"

After the parable, the Lord said, "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." This is what happens with everyone who gathers wealth only for himself, for his subsistence and pleasure, and not for God, or not for good works pleasing to God — neither to assist neighbours nor to relieve their suffering. Death will come to the man, and his earthly riches will not transport his soul to that brilliant future life.

"Therefore, I tell you," said the Saviour, "do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, or about your body, what you shall put on, for life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Your Heavenly Father knows you have need of them. Instead, seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well." First of all take care of the salvation of your soul by fulfilling the commandments of God. Show mercy to your neighbour, deal righteously with your soul; then, you may be worthy of the Kingdom of God. Then, everything else, everything that is necessary for your physical existence, for life on earth, the Lord will provide for you.

Note: See the Gospel of Luke 12:15-31.

The Gift of Prayer.

One day Jesus Christ was praying; and when He had ceased, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray as John taught his disciples."

Jesus Christ said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father Who art in the heavens, Hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Thine are the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

Note: See the Gospels of Luke 11:1-4; Matthew 6:9-13.

On Forgiving Offences: The Parable of the Unmerciful Creditor.

During one conversation with Jesus Christ, the Apostle Peter came to Him and asked, "Lord! How often shall my brother (my neighbour) sin against me (that is, if he in some way offends me), and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"

Jesus Christ said to him, "I do not say to you seven times but seventy times seven;" — that is, forgive without counting to count.

To explain this better, Jesus Christ told a parable. "One man owed the king ten thousand talents (about ten thousand dollars). As he could not pay, the King ordered him to be sold with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, (about twenty dollars). Seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then, his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger, his lord delivered him to the jailers till he should pay all his debt."

After the parable, Jesus Christ said, "So also My Heavenly Father will do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

In this parable the king represents God. The man who owed a huge sum to the king represents us. The debt is our sins. By the fellow servants are meant those people who in some way are guilty before us (our debtors).

From this parable, it is evident that everyone, who is evil to his neighbour for some sort of fault of theirs and does not want to forgive them, does not deserve the mercy of God.

Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 18:21-35 and Luke 17:3-4.

The Healing of Ten Lepers.

At the entrance of one village, Jesus Christ met ten lepers. Nine of them were Jews and one a Samaritan. Their common grief united them. The lepers were forbidden to come close to people because their disease was infectious. Therefore, they stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."

Jesus Christ said, "Go and show yourselves to the priests."

The priests were to inspect those who recovered from leprosy and testified to their right to live in cities and towns. The lepers went to the priests; and as they walked on the road, they were cleansed of the leprosy, that is, they were restored to health. One of them seeing that he was healed returned to Jesus Christ, glorified God with a loud voice, and fell at the feet of Christ thanking Him. It was the Samaritan. The Jews had left without giving thanks.

Then, Jesus Christ said, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God, except this foreigner?"

Then, turning to the thankful Samaritan, he said, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well." From this, it is clear that we must always be thankful to God for His mercy which He extends to us.

Note: See the Gospel of Luke 7:11-19.

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

Concerning people who love wealth and do not help the needy, Jesus Christ told this parable.

"There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple (garments made from expensive red material) and linen (fine white garments), and who feasted sumptuously every day. At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, who was covered with sores. He desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom (the place of blessedness of the righteous, Paradise). The rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom, and he called out, "Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame."

But Abraham said to him, "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received good things, but Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now, he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us."

And then the formerly rich man said to Abraham, "Then, I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment."

But Abraham said, "They have Moses and the prophets (their Holy Scripture); let them hear them."

And he said, "No, Father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent."

Then, Abraham said to him, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead."

In this parable, the Lord clearly indicates that if a rich man wastes his wealth only on his pleasure and does not help the needy, does not think about his soul and its eternal fate, then he will be judged and will not receive blessedness in the future life. At the same time, he, who patiently, humbly, without grumbling endures suffering, will receive eternal, blessed life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Note: See the Gospel of Luke 16:19-31.

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.

Warning all of us not to become proud, boastful and not to consider ourselves righteous and better than others but rather to be humble and alert for our sins to grieve over them and to judge no one because only a humble man is raised in spirit to God, Jesus Christ has told the following parable.

Two men went up into the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other — a publican (tax collector).

The Pharisee stood up front and prayed, "God, I thank Thee that I am not like other men, extortionists, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give one tenth of all that I receive to the priests."

But the publican standing far off would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven and beat his breast saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner!"

Jesus Christ said, "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Note: See the Gospel of Luke 18:9-14.

Blessing the Children.

Many brought their children to Jesus Christ that He might touch them, lay His hands on themб and bless them. The disciples of Christ rebuked them thinking it was not worth having the children disturb the Master.

But when Jesus Christ saw it, He was indignant, called the disciples to Him, and said, "Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child, shall not enter it."

Taking the children in His arms, Jesus Christ laid His hands on them and blessed them.

From this we are given to understand that innocence, guiltlessness, simplicity, and goodness of soul, which are traits mainly of children, lead men into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17.

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