Dulled by His Way of Life

When I first arrived at St Thomas Parish eight years ago, I was unused to seeing people camping out around the church because they had nowhere else to sleep.

Seeing these sights, I immediately thought of the Gospel this weekend and the parable of the rich man (Dives) and Lazarus. Lazarus’ name means “God has helped”.

Dives was living in great comfort and Lazarus was starving and his sores were licked by the dogs at this gate. It is important to note that Dives didn’t do any harm to Lazarus, but he ignored what was under his nose. He was indifferent to Lazarus’ needs. The sin of the rich man was his self-indulgence and complacency.

When he died and went to Hades he asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers. Abraham reminded the rich man that his brothers have the Law and the prophets. They can listen to those words of truth and guidance.

The sin of Dives was that he allowed his conscience to be dulled by his way of life. He no longer heeded the word of God. He was overconfident in his own security; he was self-satisfied.

It is a telling parable for me today. As one commentator wrote:

“too much comfort brings selfishness and selfishness keeps people from trying to come to grips with the society in which they live and the conditions of those who are lower down on the social and economic ladder.”

Here in this country, despite our present economic worries, we have a comfortable way of life. There is nothing wrong with our way of living, but it is dangerous. It is dangerous because it is so addictive. Our comforts can turn our attention to ourselves and help us to forget our responsibilities to the people around us. We get caught up in worries about sustaining that level of comfort.

“Christ, risen from the dead,
whose hands reach out to us
in the person of the needy and outcast;
bestir us both in thought and in deed
to be mindful of those who seek our compassion,
to that your justice may be done,
your beloved poor be served,
and your people enter into eternal life.”
(From “Celebrating the Christian Year” Vol 1)

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest