Welcome to October. I write this in September and already there have been Christmas items available for sale at Cracker Barrel. Thanksgiving isn’t far off either. The age old question, “What do you want?” will be asked many times. Of course, there are always people willing to volunteer their desires without being asked.
I read this passage this past week in “Christian Century.” Can you guess when it was written? “What concerns us is that we should get richer all the time, to have enough for extravagant spending every day, enough to enjoy a lazy life under their patronage; while the rich make use of the poor to enjoy a crowd of hangers-on to minister to their pride….The laws should punish offenses against another’s property, not offenses against a man’s own personal character. No one should be brought to trial except for an offense, or threat of offense against another‘s property, house, or person; but anyone should be free to do as he likes about his own, or with his own, or with others, if they consent.” “Christian Century,” August 19, 2015
This sounds like something people say today. Or maybe back in the late 1800’s. Would you believe that this quotation is from St. Augustine’s book, The City of God. It creates this statement as the defense of a wealthy Roman citizen in the last days of a dying empire.
We need to be aware of anything that places property as superior to other human beings. This can be seen in areas where plants that give off toxic fumes or just bad smells are located in communities where poverty is high and political capital is low. If we don’t want something in our neighborhood, why should we settle for it going into someone else’s?
We are to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas in the coming months. These celebrations should call to mind not our success, but rather, as Christians, our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters who suffer from the lack of what we take for granted. Remember, Jesus was asked, “When did we ever see you hungry, thirsty, naked, or oppressed? You do remember his answer, I hope.
Look around this month. How many times do you see Jesus in need? How many times can you look away?