Remember one of the images Jesus gave of the kingdom of God – that of the grand dinner party. The people who were invited were too busy with their own affairs to bother to attend so the invite went out to the poor, crippled & heavy of heart. The feast did not begin until all the guests had arrived. Contrast that with the image of the rich man’s dinner table – where the poor & the crippled have no place. It was not that he was rich, but that he was not rich enough to share his goods with those in need.
Christ on the other hand, shared his riches with everyone. He did not argue that these gifts were like certain foods – to be consumed on the premises; rather that they had to be shared to be enjoyed. We are given the gift of compassion because somewhere, someone is hurting. The gift of speech because someone somewhere is dying for the lack of a kind word. The gift of forgiveness because someone, somewhere is cloistered in wrongdoing. None of these gifts are for hoarding. They were given freely; they are to be given freely. Not to share them would be a crime.
“When you look at human suffering concretely you destroy all innocence, all neutrality, every attempt to say, “It wasn’t I, there was nothing I could do; I didn’t know”. In the face of suffering you are either the victim or the executioner – there is no other option” Dorothee Soelle -“Suffering”.
The rich man did nothing to Lazarus, but he was not innocent. There are times when our innocence is our crime.