Some years ago with friends I visited the wonderful Abbey at Vezelay, France. Whenever I hear today’s gospel of the rich man and the poor man Lazarus at his gate I remember the time we spent walking round this stunning building looking at the carving on the capitals including two depicting the feasting of the rich man and the Death of the rich man and Lazarus.
The rich man is oblivious to the needs of someone right under his nose. There is nothing to suggest that the wealthy man acquired his wealth by unjust means. His sin was in what he failed to do. It was a sin of omission.
Coming to Canterbury for the first time I encountered people sleeping outside the church. Rough sleepers in the summer even putting up tents. It makes me acutely aware that there is a problem and need in the city. We are blessed to have the charity “Catching Lives” that gives support to those who find themselves in this predicament. Before the pandemic the churches in Canterbury, let their halls be used for warm places for rough sleepers to be in winter. This was organised by “Catching Lives” and some of our own parishioners volunteered to help.
As Jesus was on the side of the poor we as a Church need to continue our long history of caring for the poor. The question for me in hearing the gospel is: “are my eyes open to the needs of those around me?”
What are my sins of omission? Lord help me to hear the cry of the poor and may I do what I can to alleviate their suffering.