From time to time I have reproduced the writings of others at this blog site, because they have stated ideas so powerfully. I have elected to do it again, given the words written by Kathleen at the Center for Development in Central America (CDCA). Kathleen has been quoted here before because what is in her heart is so well said in her words. The following is excerpted from the CDCA May 2019 newsletter.
My mother has said over and over that one of the two things Jesus wished he had never said was, “The poor you will have with you always.” Why?
Because so many Christians use that phrase to justify pouring money into church buildings and doing nothing for the poor. But what if we re-examined that phrase, and instead of looking at it as meaning an impossible goal of eradicating poverty, look at that phrase as an indictment of the rich?
It is true that, “There is enough in the world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed,” a quote from Frank Buchman.
Staying with my daughter in the Northeast, it is easy to let the poor slip my mind. As she recuperate from surgery, my daughter is watching mindless television so she can crochet and heal. One of her shows is “Top Chef.” I have found it addictive but also, when I remember the poor in Nicaragua, nauseating.
In Nicaragua with climate change and with the socio-political crisis there, people are looking more and more at hunger. It is easy to forget that as the Top Chef judges say to a contestant that the prime rib was not plated to please the eye.
It is easy for the wealthy or the intellectual class in Nicaragua to create and foment a crisis when their children will be fed and given medical care or even schooling if a new government comes in and discontinues social programs.
It is easy to forget that people are sweating and bearing unbelievable heat when there is cool air at a touch. When you have food to eat and can jump in an air-conditioned car, it is easy not to feel the urgency that climate change should be our top priority (when diesel prices had dropped, one opposition leader said that the Nicaraguan government was doing the people a disservice by investing in renewable energy!).
A Brazilian priest, Frei Betto, helps those of us who would say we choose to stand with the poor by telling us that, “The head thinks where the feet stand.”
He says that, “It is impossible to be a leftist without dirtying one’s shoes in the soil where the people live, struggle, suffer, enjoy and celebrate their beliefs and victories. To engage in theory without practice is to play the game of the right.”
Many tell us that our opinion of what is happening in Nicaragua is just wrong, and maybe it is; but Fr. Betto also says, “Choose the risk of making mistakes with the poor over the pretension of being right without them.”
And so, we risk the mistakes….
Thank you, Kathleen….