Endless Exodus, Take Two

Poverty gives birth to hunger and despair. Poverty means one bad thing after another. Worse, poverty often also means death. Death by poverty blasphemes the reign of life proclaimed by Christ. Jesus established the kingdom of God based on the Jubilee principles of the Old Testament. These principles called for a political, economic and spiritual revolution in response to human need. Jesus intended nothing less than an actual revolution, with debts forgiven, slaves set free, and land returned to the poor. Of course, this revolution threatened the vested interests of the powerful and therefore put Jesus on the road to Calvary.

Human need—be it physical, emotional, spiritual or social—was Jesus’ reason for being…and should be ours. Christ wants us to respond to the suffering that torments the poor. Jesus wants a new social order where human lives are dignified with justice, uplifted in compassion, and nurtured by peace. The ever increasing world of violence that threatens us all can only be defeated by love, by the reaching out of a hand in a moment of darkness. Compassion is the most effective response to hatred and violence. Because of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we know that every birth, every life, and every death matters to God…and must matter to us.

We live in a world of cruel poverty, terrible injustice, and iniquitous inequality. We must give hope to the suffering. We cannot worship God and be indifferent to the poor. Worship without justice and charity is blasphemous. When we are focused solely on our own needs and desires, we are unable to hear the cries of the poor, to see the pain inflicted by acute poverty. An awareness of suffering and affliction, both your own and others, is the key to wisdom. If we are unable to hear the powerless voices of the marginalized, spiritual growth will be impossible.

To be in communion with God compels us to be in communion with the poor, becoming ferments of love, striving to alleviate their suffering. Christ gave us an understanding of divine justice that is based on divine mercy. The heartbeat of the Incarnation is generosity and love. In Christ, we see a God so generous he throws everything away out of love. Christ moved beyond justice to generosity. Jesus took pity on the crowd’s real need and called on his disciples to feed them. Jesus prayed for “daily bread.” Jesus defended those who, in their hunger, ate the grain growing in someone else’s field.

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1 Response to “Endless Exodus, Take Two”


  1. 1 krebsjoan August 26, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I’m troubled. When I, as “I”, read this exhortation and many like it I’m taken, in agreement, spiritually challenged, etc. But when I read it as part of “we” even the “we” of family and some friends/acquaintances I put myself in their shoes and know it makes no sense. God? Jesus the ideal? Why? and so forth. Like the good rich man of the Gospel whose path in life is to make the world a better place, they “go away….” — and they don’t even go away sad as he did. More lamentation on my part. As I said, it’s troubling.


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