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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Listening to the Cry of the Poor

"If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead." Lk 16:31

The story of the rich man and Lazarus, who lay at his door hoping for a morsel of food, is painful to read. It is not that being rich is bad. Rather, the rich are more likely to ignore the world as it is because they are comfortable. The Jews of old knew this well. God had reminded them often never to forget how they had been enslaved, otherwise they would be no better than the Egyptians who used them for their own profit. Life has not changed very much in this regard.

It is very easy to take for granted the "riches" we have. Whether our wealth lies in money and property or friends, family and honest work, we are at risk. When God's goodness to us is taken for granted, we begin to believe that we have earned everything we have, forgetting our "unearned privilege." As a boy, although we did not have much money, I went to school everyday, drank clean water, ate nourishing food and slept in a warm bed. I never thought much about these "riches." I did not earn them. They were my right, and I thought everyone in the world benefited from the same gifts. When it became clear to me that this was not the case, I knew my conscience would never rest until I did something for others out of justice, not simply out of love.

The rich man forgot who he was, and even Lazarus lying at his door did not wake him up. He ignored the injunction of Isaiah, "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday." (Is 58:10) We can do the same with the message of Jesus. "Whatever you did for these the least of my brothers and sisters you did for me." (Mt. 25:40)

Today, feed someone who is hungry for hope, faith, compassion and understanding.

Share your experiences of feeding others.

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