However, some do not close their eyes to the poor, do not avoid the marginated, and give of their money, time, and energy to better their lot.
Our emotions are moved and we feel the twinge of embarrassment but little comes of it and one of the reasons is selfishness. The embarrassment comes from the knowledge that selfishness and avarice are keeping us from being concerned and doing something.
We know the relationship we should have with others and creation. When we have that love of others that we have for ourselves than joy comes into our lives and we begin to relate correctly with all of creation.
Many are things to enjoy in life, many delicious foods, beautiful clothes to wear; clothes rather than wearing out are discarded because we are bored with them. This is the society in which we live. TV is filled with all kinds of shopping channels to entice us to consume.
We need to reflect: Is this necessary for our well being? Rather it is already too late. Is it not true that we have been concerned with our selfish needs and need to examine if the structured society in which we live is not drawing us to indulge ourselves?
We can buy anything, do anything, but not everything is for our good and what God desires. At this moment is what I desire to have and do appropriate? Am I not preventing others from enjoying the goods of creation?
If we look up the word avarice and covetousness we find that it is an excessive desire to gain. It's a failure to know what I need. I was made to live with others. This kind of covetousness eats away at life and prevents us from spending time and effort on what is important.
The priorities are not in order. God and others do not enter the thinking. This is one of the reasons we are having problems with environmental issues. Pope Francis in Laudato si wrote: "A misguided anthropocentrism leads to a misguided lifestyle. In the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, I noted that the practical relativism typical of our age is 'even more dangerous than doctrinal relativism' When human beings place themselves at the center, they give absolute priority to immediate convenience and all else becomes relative. Hence we should not be surprised to find, in conjunction with the omnipresent technocratic paradigm and the cult of unlimited human power, the rise of a relativism which sees everything as irrelevant unless it serves one’s own immediate interests. There is a logic in all this whereby different attitudes can feed on one another, leading to environmental degradation and social decay"(#122).
When humanity comes first, forgets God, and the aim of creation, it is only a short term benefit to humans. That is the reason that when we have plenty to eat the number of those starving continues to increase, and we are not able to decrease greenhouse gases.
We need to find the reason for the problems. If a river at its source is polluted we don't try to fix the problem downstream as it goes into the ocean but search for the reasons at its source. We need to get rid of our covetousness. We need to live according to 'right reason' and convince ourselves of the righteousness of our decision.
This spiritual conversion should lead to sincere repentance from everyone for having been duped by "mindsets that divide, starve, isolate and condemn." Francis wrote. "It would be wonderful if we could become capable of asking the poor and the excluded for forgiveness, then we would be able to sincerely repent also for the harm done to the earth, the ocean, the air, and animals."
He ends the article with a prayer asking forgiveness for the covetousness and the strength to change.