Some Advice from God

Lenten Meditations on Justice and Peace

Friday, February 27, 1998

by Robert Waldrop

Readings: Isaiah 58:1-9, Psalm 51, Matthew 9:14-15

Lenten Meditations Index

Home Index

Just in case you were wondering, God doesn't particularly approve of people who do pious religious-type activities and then go and exploit their workers. This is pretty important, Isaiah says it should be cried out "full-throated and unsparingly. . . like a trumpet blast!" God's advice is pretty simple. Set free the oppressed! Break every yoke of slavery! Share your bread! Shelter the oppressed and the homeless! Clothe the naked!! Don't turn your back on your neighbor! Think of it as God trying to give the human race a clue.

But do we get it? Obviously not. It would seem that there are many hungry, naked, and homeless people in this world. Many, perhaps most, of them are actively prevented from feeding, clothing, and housing themselves by their own efforts. Sometimes such persecution of the poor is blatant, in other situations it is very subtle. But the war on the poor is a reality. Even a cursory reading of the Holy Bible shows us the truth about this.

So we question ourselves, examining our consciences on this Friday of abstinence during Lent: how many yokes of slavery have I smashed? How many captives have I released? How many hungry people have I fed? How many naked people have I clothed? How many homeless people have I sheltered? But now I'm asking, how can I free captives, break yokes of slavery, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless? Do I really look like a full-service social services agency? Maybe not, but with community and cooperation, among people with open eyes that see, listening ears that hear, caring hearts that love, and willing hands that work, all these things, and more, can be done.

Prayer intentions:

For all those who are hostile towards poor people, that they will leave behind their fear and embrace their poor neighbor as a sister and brother, we pray to the Lord.

For all homeless people, that they will find shelter, we pray to the Lord.

For those who destroy the housing of the poor, that they will stop this persecution, we pray to the Lord.

Praxis today:

+ Pick up at least five pieces of trash in a public place today and dispose of it properly.

+ Look at your list of poor people. Pray for everybody on the list. Think about the specific situations of each of these people. Think about talking with one of them to learn more about poverty.

+ Abstain from meat today and make your meals simple. Place the money you save by doing this into the Rice Bowl (or other collection for the poor).

Lenten Meditations Index

Home Index