Monday, December 12, 2016

A Church of the Poor

A priest responsible for evangelization in his diocese writes a column in the Catholic Times reminding the readers how important it is to look around and see those who are hurting for many different reasons. 

Some have problems with income, some with an incurable sickness, some with family problems....  Each day they are faced with pain and a daily struggle. No matter the efforts that are made they find it difficult to go beyond the walls that enclose them: too high,firm, and cold.

He remembers seeing a public advertisement on TV some years ago which still remains with him today. It was a reminder of how a few seconds of concern for others adds to the beauty of the world in which we live. 

An elementary school paper boy was delivering the  morning papers and came to a house where the wall in front of the house was so high that no matter how much he tried to get the newspaper over the wall the paper fell back to his feet. Right at this time a middle-aged man came by and saw the predicament facing the lad. He took the newspaper and without difficulty threw it over the wall. The child looked at the man with a blank look on his face which quickly turned into a big smile. The whole scene did not take more than 6 seconds.

The writer reflects on the few moments that were taken from the  adult to help the boy and the impression it left with the boy. Life is worth the efforts to do well. Things may be difficult but there are ways they can be overcome. People are around that are willing to help. Over and over in the boy's head, these thoughts were repeated, there are many ways out of difficulties giving him courage.

Jesus gave us the example of a mustard seed the smallest of seeds that in time becomes the nesting place for all kinds of birds. Likewise, our smallest act  can be a way of giving joy, and strength to those who are the  recipient of these kindnesses.

Back in 2014 when the pope came to Korea we experienced this kindness in every place he went. He was only here for four nights and 5 days but planted seeds of kindness everywhere he went. He visited with the families of those who died in the Sewol Ferry tragedy and listened to their complaints. He blessed individually all the handicapped that he met and shook the hands of all the 'comfort grandmothers' {those who suffered forced prostitution during the second world war} that he met. Everybody was an important encounter and gave many strength  and courage to go on.

He was not a representative of a Church of prosperity, well-being and comfortableness but of a poor, scared and hurting Church, united in solidarity with those who were vulnerable and weak. Isn't this the way we need to walk as the  community that Jesus founded?