Praise the Lord who Lifts up the Poor

Reflection for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Executive Director, Patrick Carolan

This reflection was originally posted in our September 12th Newsletter


poor
This Sunday’s readings offer an interesting perspective in light of what is happening in our political world. We are about 7 weeks from electing a new person to lead our nation. I have yet to hear anything about lifting up the poor. We hear a lot about emails or building walls, talk promoting fear and hatred of this group or that. But nothing about caring for God’s beautiful and wondrous creation, nothing about welcoming the stranger, nothing about the poor. I stopped watching all the news shows and talking heads. I keep waiting for one of them to ask “but what about the poor?” Our first reading from Amos could have been written to describe the situation today as easily as it described the world around 2700 years ago. The reading does not waste time or words; it starts right in condemning those who ignore the poor. “Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!” I pray that every priest, minister and preacher starts their homily with those words. The reading goes on “When will the new moon be over,” you ask, “that we may sell our grain, and the Sabbath, that we may display the heat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals.” In today’s society, fixing the scales is not only accepted but encouraged. Many corporations only care about profit and will do anything to enhance profit, including stealing wages from workers, stealing resources from indigenous people, destroying the environment and using and promoting slavery. The reading ends with the warning: “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!”

The Gospel from Luke continues with this theme. It ends with: “No servant can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and mammon” (money). Listening to all the political rhetoric, it is very clear that as a society we have chosen. Our choice is to worship money over God. Over and over Pope Francis has called for a cultural revolution. A rethinking of who we are. A shift away from a culture of individualism and separation towards living in connectedness, interbeing. A revolution that will put the needs of the poor and the protection of God’s creation over the wealthy and profit. I just finished reading a book edited by Ilia Delio: Personal Transformation and a New Creation. It is about Beatrice Broteau, a woman described as scholar, teacher, interspiritual pioneer, and intrepid explorer of the evolutionary edge of consciousness. In it, Broteau is quoted: “The coming revolution in consciousness is truly new, a genuine radical shift in our basic perceptions.”

In reading Amos and Luke and reflecting on what is happening today, it is clear that our basic perceptions haven’t changed much in 3000 years. Despite the prophets like Amos and Isaiah, the incarnation of God becoming man, the saints like Francis and Clare, and the modern day spiritual leaders like Merton and Broteau, we are still living in a society of separation and a culture where we worship money and ignore the poor, the stranger. By our Baptism we are all priests and prophets. So this Sunday if you attend service and your priest does not talk about the poor, does not mention worshiping money over God, does not preach on Laudato Si, then use your prophetic voice and stand up and challenge them. By our silence we are as guilty as those who protect the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

Patrick Carolan
FAN Executive Director

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Published in: on September 13, 2016 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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