Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What does it Mean to Love the Poor?

“If investments in the banks plunge, this is a tragedy....If families are hurting, if they have nothing to eat, well, this is nothing....This is our crisis today”-- reflections from the Catholic Times' editorial on the talk of Pope Francis on  Pentecost and to the new ambassadors. What is important, he emphasized, is humanity.

Pope Francis called on the world's political and financial leaders to consider the words of St. John Chrysostom: “Not to share one's goods with the poor is to rob them and to deprive them of life. It is not our goods we possess, but theirs.” The editorial mentioned that he spoke his words filled with distress that a child or a homeless person who dies of the cold or of hunger does not make the news but when invested money in the stock market is lost, we have all kinds of consternation.

This kind of thinking has to change, he said. The pope complained that we have turned people into consumers who can be used and discarded. We have arrived at a point where we worship money and have become its slave.

The editorial agreed wholeheartedly with what the pope said on the world of finances; in today's society tenderness and mercy are disappearing.  We have been hearing for many years now that the Church has become middle class, and that the poor do not have a place within the Church. The Church has to become poorer, the editorial said.
The synod of the  Seoul diocese mentioned, ten years ago, that a serious problem in the diocese is that the poor are distancing themselves from the Church. This has been evidenced repeatedly in surveys and studies, and the problem is likely to increase in the future. 

Inchon diocese also in the synod in 1999 also made mention of this same situation.  Poverty is spreading rapidly, and as the gap between the poor and the rich expands, distorting the problem of distributive justice, human as well as communitarian lives are being destroyed by this limitless competition.

The editorial concludes that the concern of the pope can be easily solved. Christians and the Church should be examples of what a life of poverty should be. We need to become aware of Christ's love for the poor and what it should mean to us. A rather simple idea but to put into practice difficult.