Reflection for Sunday 9 February 2020
My dear friends
One of my priorities as parish priest in my West African parish was to reduce the number of people suffering and dying from malaria. I ran the gamut from treating the symptoms of the illness, to looking for its causes! Eventually, we trained a number of our youth leaders as Primary Health Carers to visit every compound to educate the people. The disease was greatly reduced.
As I walk around Portswood, Southampton and multiple other cities, seeing and listening to the plight of the homeless, dispossessed and refugees, I realise the importance of our shelters, foodbanks and other charities. They are generously and courageously responding to these urgent needs within our societies. However, I keep asking myself, what are the major causes of this disease of poverty in our ‘developed’ societies causing homelessness and hunger which eat into the dignity of personhood? The words of Helder Camar came to mind: When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.
Today’s readings challenge us to respond to the needs of the poor and disadvantaged among us. However, within our sphere of Justice and Peace we are also challenged to address the causes of poverty. Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed) reflects on the transformation of hands which were once raised in supplication, to hands in which Justice has restored human dignity and enable hands to ‘become human hands which work and, working, transform the world.”
We have a lot of work to do!
Love, Peace and Blessings