Lessons in Faith
As the Scripture often tells, does the Lord always give food to the poor or justice to the oppressed? Is it not the case that we still see a lot of poverty, suffering, injustice around us? Where then is God's justice, mercy, compassion in action? From time to time, needy people come to our parish (through St. Vincent de Paul's ministry) seeking help with food, health, or housing? There are still homeless people who walk the streets of Elizabethtown. Is the Lord keeping faith forever, securing justice for the oppressed, and giving food to the poor, as the Psalmist says (Ps. 146:7)?
Yes, God keeps faith; he keeps promises. We need faith to see how this is the case. From the story of the widow of Zarephath (1Kg. 17) and the Widow who gave her all (Mk 12), we are instructed in the faith and true piety. Jesus is not oblivious to the sufferings in the world because he, too, experienced sufferings like us. However, he took the experience of suffering to a different level; we see God's promise ultimately in heaven. He is not indifferent to the problems in the world; he is still at work through us to bring about justice in the world, feed the poor, and reduce human sufferings. But definitively, the fullness of justice and nourishment will be attained in heaven (and this is not a case of religion as an opium for the masses as espoused by Karl Marx).
What the Scriptures for this Sunday mass present to us are justifications for faith in God. The encounter of the widow of Zarephath with Elijah, the prophet, and the account of the poor widow who gave "her whole livelihood "are lessons in piety and faith. God calls us to embrace this attitude and deed of faith in the face of poverty and injustice we see in the world. God is especially present with the poor, the anawim. The Church, too, has taken an option for the poor. In this is an actual act of faith and piety, let us respond within our God-given human means to alleviate the sufferings of the poor and the establishment of justice for all.
How is God asking you today, in the act of faith and piety, to bring about justice in our world and raise the human dignity of the poor?
Fr. Bernard, OP