Glad Tidings

I penned the following in my journal 15 years ago today:

I bought two new shirts today (12/17/00). I didn’t need them; but they were on sale. I could have sent the money to the Maryknoll priest I met in Kenya, and he could have fed a hungry child for a year with it. Jesus came into the world in response to the cries of the beggars that he might “bring glad tidings to the poor, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed.” And we celebrate His birth by racing about buying silly gifts nobody needs…because that is how we show love. Our culture has turned Advent into a shopping season.

But Christ has a different idea. He says poverty could be eliminated if everyone gave away whatever money they are spending on luxuries. Money not spent on a fancy restaurant could save a child’s life. Any surplus to our essential needs should be given away to people suffering from extreme and life-threatening poverty. Imagine if everyone followed this plan: when payday rolls around, take what you need to cover your necessities and give the rest away. That may sound like a radical idea, but it is the Gospel truth.

We really do not like the truth…especially at Christmas time, when we much prefer the fantasy of Santa Claus.


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