The Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor

Reflection for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN executive Director, Patrick Carolan
This reflection was originally posted in our August 31st newsletter
We continue our journey reflecting on the readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary time. The first reading for this Sunday tells us to “Be strong, fear not.” How often do we hear how we have to fear God? We are taught, not that God is love but rather someone to be feared. We do not feel any connectedness to God but rather view God as a separate distant being who judges and punishes. Is it any wonder that we go through life fearing those who are different? If we are not connected to God, how can we expect to be connected to all that God created?

Our second reading from James says: “Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?” Where is this Kingdom that James talks about? Is it some distant dimension, separate from us or, as it says in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” The reading also says: “For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs?” Yet what do we do? Look at what is happening with Donald Trump. People are stepping over and on the poor, the marginalized, and the immigrants to “the one wearing the fine cloths.”
It has been 3 months since ‘Laudato Si’ was released. This beautiful document speaks volumes about the evil of poverty and inequitable distribution of wealth. Pope Francis says in paragraph 30: “Our world has a grave social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.” He also is very blunt when he says: “Thou shall not kill” means when “twenty percent of the world’s population consumes resources at a rate that robs the poor nations and future generations of what they need to survive”. [95]

In the Responsorial Psalm it says: “The God of Jacob keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets captives free.” Pope Francis puts it like this: “a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” [49]

Do we hear the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor? Or have our ears not yet been cleared so we are still deaf?

Patrick Carolan
FAN Executive Director

Published in: on September 1, 2015 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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