Chapter 16 of Luke's Gospel begins and ends with parables about the use of wealth in our lives; the parable of the Dishonest Steward and the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.
The reversal of the fates of Lazarus and the rich man illustrates the teachings of Jesus in Luke's Sermon on the Plain earlier in Chapter 6.
In 2007, Pope Benedict wrote about the eternal consequences of our actions and the judgement and mercy of God in his encyclical Spe Salvi, on Christian Hope, the title taken from Romans 8:24, "For in hope we were saved."
He writes, "with death, our life-choice becomes definitive--our life stands before the judge The way we live our lives is not immaterial, but our defilement does not stain us forever if we have at least continued to reach out towards Christ, towards truth and towards love. Indeed, it has already been burned away through Christ's Passion. At the moment of judgement, we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves. The pain of love becomes our salvation and our joy."
Then Pope Benedict ties all this into the theological virtue of Hope: "The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice--the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together-- judgement and grace--that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation 'with fear and trembling' (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless, grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our 'advocate' (cf. 1 John 2:1)."
As for the judgement of our lives, we hope in God's pardon and mercy because we know the God that Jesus came to reveal - a God of justice and of grace.
Let us strive each day to do the positive actions of loving God and loving our neighbor while limiting with all our strength and the grace of God, the negative actions of turning away from God and our neighbor. Spe salvi.