Saturday, July 26, 2014

Spirituality and Materiality

Spirituality is a word in common use. What do we mean by spirituality? The opposite of  spirituality is materiality. Jesus asked will it be property or God? When we put property before God, it is a life of materiality, when God is in first place, it is spirituality. Spirituality and materiality are like day and night, when one gets longer the other gets shorter. When spirituality becomes weak materiality becomes strong, and fills the space. The tendency to side with materiality results in a distancing from God and also from the poor. These words are the first paragraph of an article in Bible & Life by a parish priest.

In the Old Testament, the prophets repeated this message over and over: justice was measured by the care for the orphans, widows and the foreigners. Jesus' message was extremely clear, there is a danger that comes with riches. "You keep saying, I am so rich and secure; I want for nothing. Little do you realize how wretched you are, how pitiable and poor, how blind and naked!"(Rev. 3:17)

Today this option for the poor is well established, but in the Church's history, we have seen much discussion of the issue. The reformers in the 16th century cried out 'faith alone' which was heatedly debated and took our eyes off the poor.

Many forget who it was that insisted on the help for the person half dead on the side of the road, and think it was another Jew, Karl Marx. No, the Church never forgot that it is through the poor that we grow spiritually. Pope Francis "wants a poor Church for the poor." The writer feels that these words come from another age.

When we are asked to share what we have with the poor, we realize the difficulty. The Church to become a home for those in need requires the  Church to become poor.  " for your sake, he made himself poor, though he was rich, so that you might become rich by his poverty" (2nd Cor. 8:9). Pope Francis will be coming to Korea in August, this message he continues to repeat, hopefully we are prepared to welcome him and his message.