25th Sunday in Ordinary Time C22
We are creatures of this world, what we call the Earth or the 3rd rock from the Sun. We are dependent on it for our very existence. We are made of its “stuff”. We need its air, water, and its crops for food. We need its resources to make our clothes and to provide us with shelter. We are stirred by its sights and sounds, by its phenomenal bounty, by its vast oceans and majestic mountains and plains teeming with wildlife and tame animals our enjoyment. And, there’s the rub. It provides us with all we need, but what is questionable is our use of all it supplies us. How much do I need to live a decent life? How much is enough?
The prophet Amos comes down hard on the greed of businessmen, plotting all the while at a religious event how to make more profits while the poor are taken advantage of or ignored. And as Luke gets closer to the climax of his Gospel, his emphasis only gets stronger on the reverence for life and care for the poor.
Now that the Roe vs. Wade has been overturned, we have to deal with the consequences. Who will provide the resources needed for the mothers and thousands who will be born such as: prenatal and postpartum care for mothers and children; health insurance; nutritional needs; and making sure they have adequate affordable housing and financial support? We can’t bring life into the world without making sure it has all that needs to live a decent life!
However, the right to life is about more than abortion. It means we have a right to eat, to be clothed, to have shelter, to be uplifted by the beauty of the world. Think of the rich man who dined sumptuously every day and Lazarus lying by his door. Think of having more than enough clothes for every season and eventuality while the poor wear the clothes we are tired of or replaced with the newest fashion trend. Think of the homeless living under bridges. Think of those who live in neighborhoods surrounded by empty buildings and empty lots filled with trash.
My intention is not to make anyone suffer from Catholic guilt but to open our ears to hear “How much is enough”. While charity begins at home, setting aside resources for future uses, for the education of children, for possible medical needs, for retirement, and yes, for vacation, our charity must extend outside of our “wants”. Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you …” (Mt. 26: 11). We won’t wipe out poverty but we can lessen it a bit. Don’t condemn the poor for being poor. You are not condemned for living being comfortably.
The earth belongs to everybody, every creature, every living thing, every inanimate thing. Unfortunately, its resources are limited. Some creatures are already extinct. Waterways are polluted and oceans are filled with waste.
May we use the remaining resources wisely and carefully.