Christ Defends The Poor And The Oppressed
Readings: (1st: Am 8, 4-7; Ps: 112, 1-2. 4-8; 2nd: I Tim 2, 1-8; Gos: Lk 16, 1-13)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this twenty fifth Sunday of ordinary time, the Church enjoins us to reflect on our attitude towards money, material things, and our relationship with the poor and weak. Injustice and greed and oppression are among the greatest factors that has perpetuated poverty.
In today’s first reading, the prophet Amos condemns injustice and oppression against the poor. He wrote at a time when the rich took all the land and “enslaved” the poor in their farm lands. They exported food in order to make more money for themselves, while the poor starved and died of hunger. Today, we are faced with similar situation all over the world. While some cannot afford one meal per day, others waste money on useless projects. While some starve, others waste food recklessly. Sometimes, the excuse we give is that the poor are lazy, or that there would always be poor people in the world. These are weak excuses. The real truth is that there is much greed, injustice, and corruption in our world.
Today, Paul implores us to pray for every one especially, kings, rulers and leaders in government. This prayer is necessary for conversion and for wisdom. If our leaders and rulers are converted and wise, they will help to stop corruption, injustice, greed and oppression in our systems. This is very important because God, as Paul puts it: “Wants everyone to be saved and reach the full knowledge of the truth.” First, this “truth” is that there is only one God, and that we all are His children.
Once we understand this, selfishness and egocentrism will disappear. We shall no longer think of ourselves alone to the detriment of others. We shall begin to consider the interest and good of others. It is the will of God that we should be happy here and have a share in the resources of our world. God equally, wants us to be saved. This includes being saved from starvation in the midst of plenty. It means being saved from the injustice, greed and corruption that destroys our world and leaves the poor and week in perpetual suffering.
In the gospel, Jesus reminds us of the fact that money and material things do not last forever. Hence, he advices us on how to make use of them without losing our salvation. There is a saying that: “The best way to invest is to invest in the poor.” We should therefore learn to invest in the poor in order to improve their conditions. Amassing money and wealth for ourselves without using them to help those in need only amounts to greed and selfishness.
Paul reminds us that: “The love of money is the root of all evil” (I Tim 6, 10). Money and wealth only have value when they are wisely used to help the needy around us. Only fools hold tenaciously to money and wealth above God, and to the detriment of the poor. Also, only the ungodly use their wealth to oppress the poor and the weak. This is because, they are like “the fool who says there is no God” (Ps 14, 1).
On the contrary, the wise use his wealth to help those in need. Therefore, it is important to know that when we are blessed by God with wealth, we are only its manager. Wealth is given to us for the purpose of helping and improving the lives of those in need. It is not meant only for us and our families. We must be charitable with our wealth.
Finally, we must not to manipulate the poor and the needy for economic gains. Christ sacrificed himself for humanity. Therefore, any form of injustice or oppression against the poor or the weak cry’s out to God for vengeance as the blood of Abel did (Gen 4, 10). Christ is the defender of the poor and the weak. He sacrificed Himself as a ransom for their sake. He “raises the poor and lifts the lowly from the dust.”
Peace be with you all!