At His Gate a Poor Man

For those of you who are used to wearing designer labels and dining in restaurants with Michelin stars and Gault Millau points, the Gospel for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time might make you feel a little uncomfortable.

Rich or Poor

Jesus tells the Pharisees a story of a rich man who wears nice clothes and dines lavishly while a man named Lazarus lies at the door. Lazarus is hungry and begs for table scraps. The rich man turns a blind eye. This story does not attack the rich man’s wealth, it questions his compassion. What’s important to Jesus is whether a person cares or not. The rich man had become complacent. Complacency usually begins by having too much or just enough of everything. When we are complacent, we become blind to the injustices around us.

Complacent Christians

Several years ago I went on a tour to Southeast Anatolia. I spoke to our community about my experience and it brought tears to my eyes. That region is known as the cradle of Christianity, rich with Biblical history. It is a region where people have been murdered for their beliefs. As Christians we can exercise our faith without fear of being persecuted. We can live in freedom. The people who live in the birthplace of Christianity are firmly convinced that their faith will die. I will never forget what the bishop of one of the oldest monasteries in Anatolia told me. He said that sooner or later we in Europe will face the same challenges they do and we will have no way to fight against it. He said, «You western Christians are complacent and your faith is dull.»


Dear friends, at our doorsteps lay many beggars. They may not look like Lazarus, but like him they are in need and in some way they are suffering. They don’t ask for money or a donation. They ask for something much more precious - they ask for our time, our compassion and for understanding. They ask for our love. Will we turn a blind eye? Fr. Urs