October 21, 2014
29th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Eph 2:12–22
Gospel: Luke 12:35-38
Jesus said to his disciples, “Be ready, dressed for service, and keep
your lamps lit, like people waiting for their master to return from
the wedding. As soon as he comes and knocks, they will open to him.
Happy are those servants whom the master finds wide-awake when he
comes. Truly, I tell you, he will put on an apron and have them sit at
table and he will wait on them. Happy are those servants if he finds
them awake when he comes at midnight or daybreak!”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Many solutions have been proposed to address the problem of poverty. A popular one is Todaro and Smith’s theory that a sustained elevation of an entire society and social system leads to better or “more humane life”. To achieve this good life Todaro and Smith (Economic development, 2003) propose the satisfaction of the triple human needs for sustenance, self-esteem
and freedom from slavery.
Human beings attain the good life if systems promote their self worth.
What gives citizens a sense of self-worth may vary from culture to
culture, but all agree that self esteem is not available in a society
that uses people as mere tools to feed its systems. Governments
determined to use the citizens like cogs in a wheel encourage citizens
to believe that poverty is a destiny of some much as prosperity is the
privilege of a few. They fool poor people into believing that they are
born poor and destined to die poor.
A misunderstanding of the biblical verse “happy are the poor” tends to
encourage passive submission to poverty and to systems that fatten a
few at the expense of the least. It was also this Bible verse that
led one communist leader to believe that religion is the opium of the
people. As opium renders people numb to physical pain, so religion
makes poor people submissive to their plight. But the Gospel verse
“happy are the poor” never intends to encourage material poverty. What
it does encourage is spiritual poverty which removes from a person’s eyes the blinding effect of the glitter of material wealth and makes him see objectively the conditions of the less fortunate. The same spiritual poverty frees him to dedicate his life for the improvement of the plight of the poor. He becomes close to the God who does not rejoice over the material misery of his own people if such hinders them from living their lives to the full. “Man fully alive is God’s greatest glory”.
The theory of Todaro and Smith assures the attainment of the good life
when development sets people free instead of reducing them to mere parts of the system like cogs in a wheel. It is one good theory to support. But it is not doable until
people are dressed to serve and take responsibility over the
plight of others. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY: God our Father, make us feel your providence so that free from material worries we may serve the needs of others. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Hilarion, Abbot. He was born in Gaza in
Palestine of pagan parents, but when he went to study in Alexandria,
he embraced Christianity. Later, he spent a few months in the desert
in Egypt where he and St. Anthony lived a life of prayer. In 329, he
had to establish the first monastery in Majuma, a port of Gaza in
Palestine to accommodate his disciples. But he had to flee to Libya,
then to Sicily because of religious persecution under Emperor Julian.
When a dedicated disciple found St. Hilarion after years of search,
the hermit’s solitary place was turned into a place of pilgrimage. He
died in 371.