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26th Sunday 22

The rich and the poor. Excesses and scarcity.  Splendour and poverty. Pride and humility.

A world divided into two worlds: the sated and the hungry. From the mouths of some of the rich of this world, dire words are sometimes spoken about the need to starve whole peoples in the name of subjugating and ruling over them.  This is the scandal of our 21st century reality. This is unfortunately happening while we watch, we live in a world of people who are increasingly cutting themselves off from their Christian roots. This is happening in the old ‘Christian’ Europe. Civilised, highly technologically developed, bloated societies of the rich, with beggars dying on city streets at their feet.  A paradox, a tragedy, an image of the present day. It seems that such a world is nothing new. It turns out that two thousand years ago it was very similar. “The rich man , who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day.” ” The poor man covered with sores, dogs came and licked his sores.” This is the picture Jesus presents in the parable in today’s Gospel.   Why does he say this ?  What teaching does Christ want to pass on to us, what is he calling us – his contemporary followers – to do? Certainly it is a call to show mercy to the poorest, the most disadvantaged, of whom there is no shortage around. How much their needs have increased in the era of the pandemic, the cruel war in Ukraine, the situations in Yemen, various parts of Africa, and numerous others. During the pandemic many good people were able to unleash the deepest layers of compassion and show love for their fellow human beings. Pope Francis writes of this when recalling the time of danger of coronavirus infection:

“Our spiritual and material resources were called into question and we found ourselves experiencing fear. In the silence of our homes, we rediscovered the importance of simplicity and of keeping our eyes fixed on the essentials. We came to realize how much we need a new sense of fraternity, for mutual help and esteem.”

A similar reflection and action is needed to be applied to the victims of the many people’s that are affected by war, famine and other tragedies today. How beautiful our world could become if it were not just occasional reactions, promptings of the heart, but a permanent, uninterrupted attitude change of turned towards our fellow human beings.

A new fraternity is needed… A new fraternity, that is to say, a fraternity such as that shown to us by Jesus Christ Himself, and therefore quite an old one, from which, however, we have become quite distant over the centuries. It is about fraternity involving self-sacrifice. Moreover, it is about sacrifice, the pain of a ‘loss’ that turns out to be a priceless gain as a consequence. Where is the profit here? It is something that is a source of overwhelming happiness, joy and peace – heaven.

The ability to see the needs of the poor, and to remedy these by sacrificing one’s own life and affluence.