Friday, November 14, 2014

What Are Our Priorities?

A grandfather who was living alone in a  rented room, was notified that the house was sold, and he had to move.The situation was serious,  despondent, he took his own life. Those who were entrusted with the moving found a note waiting for them; in the envelope was 100 dollars to have a meal with rice and soup. Another envelope had enough money for the funeral expenses, electricity, water and taxes.

In Feb. of this year we had the  suicide of a mother and her two  daughters by carbon dioxide  poisoning  because of poverty. The daughters because of sickness were not able to work, and the mother in her 60s worked in a  restaurant to support  them, but could not work because of an injury. The incident was reported in the news and caused a great deal of remorse on the part of many.The government was moved to work on ways to help the indigent, and  prevent incidents like what happened to the grandfather.

Around the same time was the case of another death of a popular singer that pushed aside news of the mother and her two daughters. The columnist, writing on this issue, in the Peace Weekly, knows that death brings sadness, but was again reminded that money and honor, in many cases,  determines how we look upon death. Putting his thoughts together on the grandfather's death the columnist felt distress.

In Buddhism birth and death, prosperity or failure are all transient; important to see all as vanity. A Christian, however, sees life as a sign of God's love and to put an end to life with one's willful act is not acceptable. We are to respect our bodies for they will be resurrected on the last day.

The bishops in their recent meeting lamented in the way money and power is pushing people to their death. We have put money and power on an equal footing with life. Materialism and money are trampling the poor under foot, and the bishops have decided to be with them. Up until now we have had a  middle class church, prosperous, on mission, a big church, that has not chased out the poor, but have not made it easy for them to find a place to stand or feel comfortable. Bishops have expressed their sorrow and plan to do something to change the situation.

The world is beautiful because one can find love. A world with love is filled with human-like lives: a world that is lived according to the principles found in creation, and is filled with the  immanence of God. When the first Christians in Korea were  persecuted and escaped to the mountains, living together in difficult circumstances, no one died of hunger or lost hope.

Like  the bishops we have to meditate on the situation we have today in the world, and work to put an end  to those who kill themselves because of  alienation and  poverty. In November we meditate on death and pray for the dead. A  time to  change our attitude, and begin to see what is important and what is less important in our lives. 

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