22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time B21
“Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4: 8) What statutes and decrees (the whole law) are so just as to make other nations envious?
Keeping the Torah (Law) was not about self-preservation or self-perfection but is about having a right relationship with God, with oneself, and your neighbor which also includes non-human life and all of nature/creation. Following the Law is to practice justice for the disenfranchised, the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the stranger including people considered “aliens”, those fleeing from political, social or religious oppression. The Law was seen as a good thing, bringing life and well-being. Of course, the Law as first written showed biases, for example, gender and patriarchy as we saw last week.
But are our laws in our society and our world just? Who crafts the laws and traditions by which we live and navigate our lives? It’s the powerful, either by rank, wealth, privilege, prestige or violence who enact laws and maintain traditions that more often than not cement or expand their wealth, privilege, prestige, or power.
COVID 19 helped to reveal cracks and chasms in what we considered “the normal way”. Some governments put profit over people, the economy over the health of those who didn’t contribute as much to the wealth of businesses, companies or corporations. We saw it in the rollout of the vaccines that poorer nations or neighborhoods didn’t have the resources or the clout to obtain what was needed.
Pope Francis has written a commentary about the effects of this pandemic called: “LET US DREAM –THE PATH TO A BETTER FUTURE” in which he puts various realities of the pandemic (Part One- A Time to See), the necessary step to discern what might be a response (Part Two – A Time to Choose), and finally what to do concretely (Part Three – A Time to Act).
The big take-away, I believe, is in the prologue in which he talks about the pandemic as a crisis, a time of reckoning. He writes: “The basic rule of a crisis is that you don’t come out of it the same. If you get through it, you come out better or worse, but never the same.” And you reveal your heart by the choices you make.
Here are a couple of examples. Compare what a nation spends on weapons that are meant to take life and what is spent on combatting hunger or providing education. There is no comparison! Having weapons and/or selling arms are much more profitable. Secondly, barely more than 1% of the world’s population has amassed 50% of the world’s wealth. We can’t go back to the normal. We must not go back to the normal way of doing our economies. Too many people were hurt by it. Too many people were left behind. And all of creation is suffering. It’s time for a “new” normal.
Let us dream! PLEASE, Let us dream!
 Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, © 2020 by Austen Ivereigh
 Prologue, p. 1