Where is the bliss of heaven in today’s culture?
Words that may confound us or become the ultimate glory of our faith. To be confounded for many will become a surprise. They were sure they had a ticket to enter the kingdom, never realizing their rejection of the poor and disenfranchised was the nail on their coffin.
We find parables that directly point to the requirement of assisting those who are in dire need, and the ones who should help them through their example have failed. The Good Samaritan is the most well known teaching that places a heavy burden on so many when they can recall how many times they fit the pattern of the priest, and the Levite, passing a poor man who was beaten and robbed.
It is important that we understand the full meaning of poor people. Poverty denotes the absence of or almost complete diminishment of money or material goods. However, there is a greater lack of impoverishment than tangible items; it is what lies buried within our souls that we cannot reach and the loss of that attachment is found in suicides, violent behavior, disconnection to righteousness, and people who have become part a non-adhering group wandering in a fog with no way out.
Look at the examples of our children, those who had the love and comfort of good parents, are seeking a way out of the social pattern of escape from who knows what. We can identify this phenomenon on whatever appears to us to be the common factor. Yet, placing a name on it or saying we know what has happened becomes a blind alley with no positive answer.
Speaking with a funeral director recently revealed from her perspective of how many teen suicides have taken precedent in our once solvent society. Some are results from feelings of rejection, and perhaps the way out of that are drugs that have completely taken over their ability to distinguish between life and death.
For a moment, one shot or one more pill and I will become free from what I can’t understand and personally don’t care anymore. These are the poor. Children who once wore nice clothes as they received their first Holy Communion, or stood with their future spouse on their wedding day and now we stand at their graveside asking; “What happened?”
Listening to Jesus at his first preaching in Nazareth and reading from the Prophet Isaiah; “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” Where is the commonality from us to say the same thing? The poor are all around us and too many are the children we hoped would be able to take the reins of society and religion. Now they are slipping away to the drug culture that has become the Golden Arm of an evil facing us.
Listen up, all who are concerned, it is time to reach out and bring God back into our individual lives and society as well. We must fight this culture with faith and prayer.
Ralph B. Hathaway