Out of Sight

In places like Haiti and the many other impoverished nations where I’ve filmed, such as Uganda and Kenya, the poverty is stunningly clear and all around you. It hits you in the face every day. Here at home in America, the poverty is more hidden, more out of sight. The drastic unequal distribution of wealth in the Unites States has reaped consequences that place an added grim burden on the poor, which you can see if you look closely: failed urban schools, crumbling infrastructure, astronomical rates of incarceration among minorities and the poor, unfavorable health outcomes for the insured and uninsured alike, and constant economic insecurity for most of us thanks to failing banks and rising unemployment.

The poverty-induced human destruction in so much of South America, Africa, and Haiti continues amid a sea of graft and corruption. The greed factor dominates because trust in God’s providential abundance is absent. In the United States large percentages of children go to school each morning hungry…and the cycle of dis-education and poverty is getting worse. We need to begin to think more seriously about the common good both at home and abroad and better understand that compassion is crucially essential to our survival. In the countless prisons of poverty around the world, God is hidden in the suffering, hidden in great and small acts of resurrection, hidden in a truly inexhaustible mystery.

But there is no mystery about this: the world is riddled with pain. No life can escape it. Even Jesus accepted it. Pain is universal. When we turn our attention away from our own pain, be it physical or emotional, we can see the pain of others, the pain of the world. Once we truly see and feel the pain of others, we are impelled to alleviate suffering wherever and whenever we encounter it. In the process we will slowly come to realize we are not the center of the universe and that all living creatures possess an inviolable sanctity that binds us all together as sisters and brothers.

Over and over again, Christ tells us that love is the sole criterion for eternal unity with God. The love Christ is talking about is far from a mere humanitarian concern for abstract justice and the anonymous “poor.” Christ calls us to a concrete and personal love for all people, including our enemies, and for all of creation. He calls us to be his helping, healing hands. Christ someday will say to us, “When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat.” When we soothe the trials of others, we encounter Christ. We are called to be angels of compassion, God’s messengers delivering food and hope to those living with hunger and despair.

God humbly and continuously bends down in love to embrace us in our weakness and vulnerability. God’s love is different than our love. God’s love means being willing to love someone more than your own life, for the sake of the other. Every moment of every day, God the All Powerful willingly becomes powerless and risks becoming a beggar of love patiently waiting for us to respond by not only loving God, but also all of God’s creation, especially the poor and rejected. And compassion is the fullest expression of the luminous force of intentional love and kindness.


1 Response to “Out of Sight”

  1. 1 Jerry November 18, 2014 at 10:37 am

    “God’s love means being willing to love someone more than your own life, for the sake of the other. ” – I pray that every day we move a little closer to being able to live that love.

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