Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
God heard the boy’s cry, and God’s messenger called to Hagar from heaven: “What is the matter, Hagar? Don’t be afraid; God has heard the boy’s cry in this plight of his. Arise, lift up the boy and hold him by the hand; for I will make of him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. She went and filled the skin with water, and then let the boy drink. Genesis 21:17-19
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” Matthew 8:29
In my misfortune I called, the LORD heard and saved me from all distress. The angel of the LORD, who encamps with them, delivers all who fear God. Learn to savor how good the LORD is; happy are those who take refuge in him. Fear the LORD, you holy ones; nothing is lacking to those who fear him. The powerful grow poor and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Who among you loves life, takes delight in prosperous days? Keep your tongue from evil, your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:7-15
Sometimes it is amazing how cruel even good people can be to the ones they love. Before Isaac was born, Sarah and Abraham went to all lengths to have descendants – even to the point where they used Sarah’s slave Hagar to impregnate her and bear a son.
Now we see Sarah and Abraham blessed with a child in their advancing years. Once Isaac is born, they turn their back on the slave who did everything she was asked to do. They expel her and she continues in humble obedience even though it appears that the two will die of hunger and thirst in the desert. However, God hears their cry in the desert and comes to their rescue…something Abraham did not do.
God takes care of some things even when we overlook our responsibility to our sisters and brothers. God acted in the common interest even when we did not.
The opposite comes through in the Good News. The demons have no common interest with Jesus. They think they are free to torment people until the end of time. Jesus, however, has other plans for these demons.
What do we do to act in the common interest of the poor and outcast in society?
Today, we live in an era where the term globalization is bandied about freely. In the global village of a shrinking world, we have a tendency to remain aloof and detached from the people who make our food, sew our clothes, build our cars and other machines, and tend to our services. We may pay them for their service. However, sometimes we (or their employer) do not pay them a fair wage because we want to enjoy the goods and services produced at the lowest possible Wal*Mart price rollback.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that Pope Benedict XVI has just signed his latest encyclical on ways to make globalization more attentive to meeting the needs of the poor amid the worldwide financial crisis. The document, entitled “Charity in Truth,” is expected to be published soon.
In the AP story, the pope said his third encyclical outlines the goals and values that the faithful must defend to ensure solidarity among all peoples. Benedict has frequently spoken out on the financial crisis, urging leaders to ensure the world’s poor don’t end up bearing the brunt of the downturn even though they are not responsible for it. He has said the downturn shows the need to rethink the whole global financial system.
One way we can begin to act this out is through supporting the fair trade movement. Commonly one of the first steps is to buy coffee and chocolate where the farmers get a fair price for their crops from the coffee or cocoa cooperative. You can always start with little things liker buying fair trade coffee instead of name brand or niche brands (www.larrysbeans.com is one source). Through sales we do at St. Mary of Sorrows, fair trade coffee even costs less than its counterpart in the grocery store. Plus, it has the added benefit of still being packages in full one-pound containers. (Often, commercial coffee products are being offered in smaller and smaller packages for the same high price). Plus, the fair trade coffee often tastes better than commercial coffee.
For the price of two Café Mochas at Starbucks, I can buy a whole pound of Larry’s Secret Espresso Blend #17. Is this what they mean by “taste and see the goodness?” Sometimes the “sacrifice” is just the change.
Because we remain so detached from the people who produce our goods, it is hard for us to hear the cries of the poor in countries like Honduras where a military dictator just ousted the government which was duly elected by the people of that small nation.
Yet the Lord hears the cry of the poor. Let us work together on more ways we can open our ears and hear the Word of the Lord as it comes to us through the voices of the poor.