(Photo from Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. - God’s Excessive Love - Used With Permission)
" “The trouble with the world is me.” - St Catherine of Siena

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monday Musings - On The Poor and Pope Francis' Challenge to Us

((Image from Biblebios.com)

(If God used Balaam’s donkey to get that prophet’s attention, I guess he can use me to get yours. May these periodic postings on the second and fourth Mondays of each month (God willing) generate fruitful discussion and faithful change.)

Being materially poor is not much fun.  In whatever form it manifests itself, such poverty is a  heavy, terrible and sometimes oppressive cross to bear.  Truly impoverished people struggle daily to find food, shelter and clothing. Far too many in this world have little or none of these necessities.

For the most part, we who profess to be Christian, ignore their plight. As a result, every day, countless die of starvation and malnutrition, while we fill our trash bins with enough wasted food to have saved a good portion of them from such a horrifying fate.

Fortunately, that extreme manifestation of material poverty is not common place in our nation. I suspect that the individual whose difficult life can be readily inferred from the image below (which has been circulating on Pinterest) does not live in our midst, nor is he or she the beneficiary of public assistance, food stamps, meals on wheels, food pantries, subsidized housing, temporary shelters, health care, disability or unemployment benefits.

We would do well to ponder the sickening realty of this poor person's condition and life and then contrast it to the type of "poverty" prevalent here. There can be no moral equivalency between the two. From this suffering soul's perspective, the "poor" in our country must appear quite wealthy indeed.

These are the feet of the poor whom Christ demands we (not our government - at least not in the first instance), help. It is the personal and corporate failure of those blessed to live in the world's wealthiest nations to assist such individuals for which Pope Francis is correctly chiding us, while simultaneously reminding us that we will be eternally judged for our inattentiveness.

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