Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Your thoughts wanted.

Today the first reading was from Isaiah:

"On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines."

In Father Harold’s homily, he remarked that we should try to imagine what a gripping image “a banquet” was for the people of Isaiah’s time.

But listening, my question was, what relevance does this passage have for us?

In this country, we’re not hungry, we have an epidemic of obesity. We’ve got a multi-billion dollar diet industry. Sure there are poor people—we feed them everyday here at Saints Peter and Paul. But it’s a tiny minority and in fact, many of them lead a life of leisure. We see them everyday drinking, playing around, spending the day in conversation across the street in Washington Square. A novel type of poverty.

So when I hear about the “preferential option for the poor,” it has no application to San Francisco as far as I can see. It looks to more to me that what we are in need of is “a preferential option for the rich.” I say this because sometimes I think the focusing on poverty, in a place where there essentially is no poverty, is a cop-out from Christian duties. I realize this sounds bad, but I'm being honest.

I ask for anyone's thoughts.

Posted by Gibbons.

3 comments:

Kevin A. said...

While we can't ignore the physical poverty that is around us, we need to pay attention to the spiritual poverty that is rampant in the West. Mother Theresa, certainly familiar with poverty, described this as a far worse poverty than what she encountered in Calcutta. So many are spiritually starving, yet cannot acknowledge their hunger or attempt to alleviate that hunger with things that are empty such as drugs or lust. Christ alone offers the "living water", that which can truly quench our thirst.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kevin. I agree with your diagnosis. But I'm wondering, how do we reach out with Jesus to the rich? I like what you said "cannot ACKNOWLEDGE their (spiritual) hunger."

How does the good news reach people who already think they have the good news and can point to a lot of reasons for why they think that? Any thoughts?

Gibons

Anonymous said...

Yes, a lot of the urban poor are rather plump, but they are still desperately poor, and worse, they are ignored by people who walk right by them. I do as much as I can to help the poor. In the winter I carry with me extra gloves, socks and hats.

But most of all, I stop and talk them to let them know that I see them and to let them have some human contact. That's mostly what we can give them. Maybe some words of encouragement, maybe a word or two about Jesus. But most important is to give of yourself, to talk to them not as a charity case but as an equal.

People often ask why bad things happen to good people. Perhaps the bad luck of the poor is a blessing for us. I've been blessed so much by the homeless, just by being given the opportunity to help someone else. Spiritually, I am just as in need as they are. When we get to heaven, it will be me thanking them for the blessing and grace that they gave me through helping them.