Have you ever had one of those days when all that pops into your mind is questions. I am in California for the wedding of one of my good friends a CUA Alumnus and his wonderful bride. This morning I had breakfast in a kind of "Diner" place called Coco's. The people next to me were talking about a safari they took to track polar bears. There are very expensive cars all over the place. One house on the coastal highway had a Marble carport at least it looked that way. I almost took a picture. This is a rather affluent area at least compared to anything I have known. There is definitely no Kmart in town at least I haven't seen one there I haven't even seen a Target. Whew. Everything is landscaped manicured. There is an army of people who speak spanish who work hard to keep everything looking beautiful. The apparent wealth here has really given me pause.
I have seen and been the quest of people who make $7.00 a day for very hard manual labor. They live in unfinished cinder block houses with no running water if they were lucky. Every penny is counted and everyone in the family chips in to the common good. The people I lived with only ate meat when the Chicken was too old to provide eggs anymore. Hot dogs were a treat. I know that a significant percentage of people in our world are even worse off then them They are PEOPLE moms and dads with children to care for.
From polar bears to $7.00 a day and everything in between. Where does the Gospel draw the line? We need people who are successful and creative and who drive the world economy. They deserve to be compensated for their talents and ingenuity, Absolutely. But, where do the people who only get to eat old chickens if they are lucky, fit into our human family ? Some I would venture to say are just as enterprising and hard working and talented but just never had the chance and the access to the market. They never got to spin the wheel.
I've always wondered how far I would go with this blog. How close I would let complete strangers know my thoughts and my dreams and yes even my questions. Today for some reason I feel compelled to let you very close to my pondering.
I quess the people who work for $7.00 a day and the people with the marble carport have to ask themselves the question. How does love compel me to live. How much are we willing to answer love's call, love's challenge. Are we brave enough to answer loves call to even see and treat each other as brothers and sisters? Are we even aware of each other. Could someone give up their marble carport to send someone to college or a whole family to High School ? Should they? Wou.ld they? Consumption is it a right or a responsibility? Where does love call ? I think it is harder to answer love's call when you have a lot of things. Creature comforts can be so mesmerizing. As Archbishop Pilarczyk once said in a homily on Lazarus "It is dangerous to be rich."
Yes my experience of Newport Beach pushed me to ponder but I don't think that only the people who stalk Polar Bears need to be asking these questions. Everyone needs to ask them even the poor. We as a country seem to believe that because of our industriousness and access to capital that we have a right to consume an extraordinary part of the world's resources. What is our national responsibility to those who live in cinder block houses with no running water. The Gospel would tell us that they are our brothers and sisters.
The haunting words of St. Basil give me pause they might even frighten me. I paraphrase because I can't find the citation**."The extra pair of shoes in your closet belong to the poor." I guess that would also include the,`extra clothes, extra food, extra comfort, extra whatever.
Are we as a nation, a people, individuals growing fat, unhealthy unholy and unaware because of our extra ?
Lord. Have mercy on me a sinner
I found it..... at http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saintly-quotes2.htm
The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor.
--------St. Basil the Great
A Reading from St. Basil the Great The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold that you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor. If everyone would take only according to his needs and would leave the surplus to the needy, no one would be rich, no one poor, no one in misery.