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The scandal of the “Rich” and “Poor”

 

I am struck by the Gospel of today Luke 16:19-31. I feel guilty, I know I have been wasteful, and it is time to repent. The Canaanite woman in Matt 15: 27, pointed out to Jesus that divine scraps are human riches. The principle applies to everyday life. Our scraps can be someone’s capital to transform his or her life.

 

The scandal of the “Rich”

 

I read somewhere (I may be wrong but even so, I do not think it’s farfetched) that ten of the richest people in the world can feed the whole world. That seems scandalous but what is more scandalous is not knowing that your 5 Gh cedis worth of Credit can actually feed someone for two days. The scandal of the “rich” (and am not using the word rich here to mean billionaires but everyone who can afford three meals a day) is the fact that we do not recognize that our little can change lives and worse still we do not even see the poor at our door-step. Catholics in Accra alone (priests, religious, and lay) may number more than 100,000. If we should gather in a day our scraps of 1Gh cedis what would be the results? What if we gathered it this Lenten season of 40 days; what then would be the results? Can this not change a village in Ghana? And oh, what if the entire catholic population in Ghana decided to collect their scraps? I dare not stretch it to all Christians or all HUMAN BEINGS OF GOODWILL.

 

The scandal of the “Poor”

 

I have noticed how people are quick to classify themselves as poor. Sometimes to the point of taking what belongs to the poor: that is robbery. I have seen it with welfare schemes in churches and charitable outreaches where those who can afford struggle to have a share of what is meant for the poor because it is free.

 

Purgatory and Comfort

 

Once my spiritual director (Fr. Donald Hinfey, SJ) said: if you do not purge yourself here on earth, you would have to purge yourself in the afterlife (purgatory). So let us consider the statement of Abraham: “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony” (Luke 16: 25). If we cannot deny ourselves of certain privileges (and pleasure) so that others may be privileged, then let’s get ourselves warming up for purgatory at the very least and hellfire if the light of grace does not help us to repent. This is why your fasting must yield the fruit of charity. If after 40 days you cannot donate 40 Gh cedis and yet you claim you fasted then I would ask, what did you fast from?

 

By: Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Salifu

Catholic Archdiocese of Accra

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