Thursday, December 22, 2016

A bit of "ecclesiology" (for mission)

Mission and roles of all in the Church

1. For the Vatican II council the Church is the community of the Baptized RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MISSION OF CHRIST. It is the mission OF ALL OF US to continue this mission (see Lumen Gentium # 2; see also the document of AD GENTES). Through Baptism we are all "priests". Not all of us are ordained priests but we are priests by baptism. We belong to the COMMON PRIESTHOOD OF THE FAITHFUL  (see Lumen Gentium # 10).
2. All of us, members of the Church, have our competences and gifts and talents. For Vatican II we are all called to MANIFEST our concern for the Church and help in the mission of the Church  (see Lumen Gentium # 37). This involves our common responsibility to PROMOTE the Kingdom of God in the world FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS. This means that EACH OF US HAS A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE TO PLAY. Each of us is not zero in mission. Nobody in the Church is zero and has no worth or value. Each one is so valuable, so important. Lay people, consecrated life people, priests...all have roles. The best area of participation is IN AND THROUGH THE DIOCESE--or "local Church".
3. Christian duty is to participate in the mission of the Church. We all have THE SAME DIGNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY shared in the Church.
4. We are IN THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD...and at the same time, we are IN THE WORLD IN THE CHURCH. The Church is in the world; she is in our different societies. She has her place and role in society. But inside the Church is also the world. The Church is also marked by the culture and politics and economics of her members. Hence we should know how to manage this all.
5. Pope Benedict XVI noted that there are three main work of the Church: ANNOUNCE THE WORLD OF GOD, CELEBRATE THE SACRAMENTS AND SERVICE WITH CHARITY  (see Deus caritas est # 25).

Church as Dialogical

1. Let us talk of Revelation. It is the communication of God to us all--through the Scriptures, through our moral conscience and through Church Tradition. God communicated himself and invited us--and continues to invite us--to have a share in his life.  (See Dei Verbum # 6). REVELATION IS DIALOGICAL. Dialogue is about partners in reciprocity. Revelation was--and is--NEVER ONE WAY (unilateral). It is not just God doing all the communication and us absorbing it all. Revelation is not a constraint. It is dialogical AND RELATIVE TO HOW WE RESPOND. This is why Revelation is not just a transmission of content. To put this in simple terms, we just do not think about what the CCC says or what the Bishops declare. We also have to ask WHAT IS OUR RESPONSE TO WHAT IS TRANSMITTED TO US. How real and true (and joyful) is the message of God for us? What do we do in response? Full revelation thus includes the response of our faith.
2. Yes, we have doctrines in the Church, ok. But this is deepened and accompanied by how we implicate ourselves--how we involve ourselves. How do we deepen our lives and our relationships with others? It might be strange to our ears when we hear, "God needs us too". But this is true. The Incarnation of Christ made it clear that as God valued our humanity he also respected our freedom to participate in his mission and life. Even in the incarnaion of Jesus Christ God took a risk. We can continually crucify his Son--through injustice, violence, cheating, etc. God continually needs us especally in our sharing in his mission.
3. This is why Revelation is really a PROCESS that is ALWAYS ONGOING. We as Church articipate in this process. Our mission extends and shares the Kingdom to others. We continu the Revealing of God to the world. Yes, we confess that Christ is the summit of God's Revelation, but this Reveltion is NOT PADLOCKED. It is dynamic and shared. It is Revelation ON MISSION.
4. We should not turn our backs on situations of crisis and heavy criticism against the Church. A point of struggle, misunderstanding and even crisis PUSHES US to think well about our mission BASED ON THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. We might need to discern where the Spirit is moving and the Spirit may be moving in new places, new socia links. There was a time, for example, when the Church was only about the roles of the ädults". Today we see the importance of the youth. There was a time when the Church was concentrated on the hierarchy ad structures. Today we have a "communion Church"where even the laity have a voice. There was a time when the Church was ëxclusivist"in front of other religions. Now she is faced with the challenge of religious pluralism. Changes can happen in the Church.
5. We need to emphasize that the Church, as she is based on Revelation, is continually dialogical with the world. Dialogue is so necessary--even if it is about VERY DIFFICULT THEMES. The emphasis on concentration only among ourselves is finished. The doors are open.
6. If we want the Gosple to be attractive and to be heard in the world we might need to move slowly away from being so heaviy structured and cencentrated on our hierarchical status with the priests on top and the laity at the bottom. Today society is fluid and filled with networkd--webs. There can be underlying life in the Church that needs exploration. Take the example of certain Christians who, while staying in the Church, are so involved in the concrete practices of people of OTHER RELIGIONS. e might need to hear those voices.  Their dialogue with other religions can be share within the Church.  

Formation of the Laity

1. If mission is the work of everyone, then it may be necessary to have a FORMATION FOR ALL. Formation is not to be concentrated on priests and consecrated life people. Form the laity too. The hierarchy and the religious congregations ar not designed to promote themselves. The promote their vocation AND SERVICE TO THE KINGDOM. Hence they need to give space and time for the formation of the laity. (Can we imagine a MAPAC for the laity too?)    The laity have a very important "hands on" work in the temporal affairs of society. They must be given the chance to really participate. The mission of the Church is not in the monopoly of priests and consecrated people.  Lay people also have their roles to play for the promotion of the Kingdom.The laity can go on mission too, especially in AD GENTES mission. They need formation for this.
2. There are many forms of vocation--including the vocation for family life and vocation for single life. We might still be promoting this gap between priests-religious and laity AS IF THE MARRIED AND SINGLE PEOPLE ARE MARGINALIZED. Remember that even if the laity are not ordained priests, they are still PRIESTS BY BAPTISM. So their dignity is not different from the dignity of priests-religious. Are priests-religious shepherding the laity?  

Women in particular  

Everyone is responsible for the mission of the Church.  WOMEN need to be given more place too. WOMEN COLLABORATE TOO. WOMEN CAN TAKE LEADERSHIP ROLES TOO.  


How do we. as Church, show our place in the world and in the promotion of the Kingdom? By working humbly, honestly and IN COMMUNION AND DIALOGUE WITHIN THE CHURCH AND WITH THE WORLD.  We need to re-root ourselves in Christ and his Gospel, see how we as Church responds to his call.    

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Where is Christianity Going?

1. Where is Christianity going today in a world that is more and more going pluralist? In the Bible we read about the Tower of Babel. There we see that God demolished the tower and scattered the people. "The Lord CONFUSED the speech of all the world" (Gen 11/9). As we know the first eleven chapters of Genesis are about "origins": the origin of the world, the rigin of the human, the origin of sin, etc. With the "confusion"of languages the story of Babel may be about the origin of human differences. In other words, it is about plurality of people.

2. Pluralism has always existed. Today is has taken a new color. Today pluralism is closely linked with relativism. In relativism each one has his/her own truth. Relativism and pluralism today is a reaction against the usual understanding of truth. Relativism does not like to have a common truth. Truth should be RELATIVE TO each one of us. What is true for me need not be true for you. It is ok, let us not work for conversion. So today we see the choice for, say, abortion. A mother can decide on abortion as a mother's choice. It is true for the mother. Truth is relative to the mother. If she says it is true to abort a child, then accept it. It is her choice. The problem is, what about the child to be aborted?

3. Pluralism today can be very attractive. The Christian faith tends to be more and more accepted as a persona choice. Before we would say that, "I am a Christian because my family is Christian". Today with all the information and choices we have, Christianity becomes one among other choices. Religions are plural, so select one. For the Christian this becomes a challenge. The Christian faith cannot anymore be just a choice among other choices like commodities in a supermarket. Nor can the faith be simply an imposition of culture and family. The Christian who wants to be authentic with his/her faith needs to make a PERSONAL STAND: "I believe".

4. There is also a challenge for us who have to bring the Gosple to the "ends of the world". There is a challenge for mission in today's pluralism. How can we tell others about Christ and about the Gospel? CAN WE STILL BE ATTRACTIVE to the world?

5. We can look back at the early Christian experiences; the experiences of the Apostles, the gospel writers, the early Christian communities gradually spreading in the world. Something was common to all of them: JESUS HAD AN IMPACT ON THEM. This is a challenge for us today. Can Jesus still make an impact? And for us who go on mission--be it ad gentes or re-evangelization or pastoral or even just in the family--HAVE WE ALSO BEEN IMPACTED BY JESUS? This IMPACT of Jesus was the main "push" of the early Christians. It is evident in the Gospe texts. The early Christians have "seen the glory" of Christ. They were just so happy to share that.

6. Remember that early Christian expansion was not done with imposition and proselitizing. It was done by simple witnessing and simple preaching. It was simple BUT IT WORKED. The Christian faith extended way up China and India, for example, already in the early centuries.

7. Can we make the Gospel SPEAK INSIDE OTHERS? Can it introduce A NEW WAY OF LIVING? CanChrist be REAL to others too? Let us put this in a musical way. The music of the early Christians, can we play it today and make people listen and appreciate and adhere to Christ? How do we play that ancient music in a way that can be appreciated today?

8. Can we show how the Gosple can answer deep questions of people today, like questions of justice, human dignity, sexuality, women's rights, povery, the common good, neo-liberalism, etc?

9. Indeed, some Christians really do not like to go on mission. They do not like "proclaiming". If we accept that we can stop all proclamation, then what future do we have? Christ commanded proclamation: "Go", he said. He must have also had the future in mind. IF WE DO NOT GO, then what happens?

10. There are certain difficulties faced by mission today.

Mission is sometimes understood to be a "Western/European" activity. It is true that, historically, the big chunk of mission history was done by Europeans. This is why Christianity has been so linked with Europe. But today there is a need for new air current blowing. The Gospel is for all humanity. it is not "European". The Gospel responds to ALL HUMAN QUESTIONING. It is not just a Western/European response to Western/European questions. As a Church we need a CONSTANT conversion TO THE GOSPEL. We need to focus on the central core message of the Gospel.
Church image still looks conservative and "not modern" enough. Christianity looks like a religion with rituals and social cohesion, with hierarchy and other "conservative" stuff. Christianity looks just like any other traditional religion with social cohesion and "substantive" function. Some are irritated by the Church. Let us accept that Church history has really given this image. But the core of Christianity and the Gospel message is quite different.
If we look closely modernity itself owes a lot from Christianity. Modernity emphasizes the freedom and autonomy of each person to decide on how to live. Christianity emphasizes this too THROUGH THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST. The incarnation of Christ has honored each human person. The incarnation shows that God entered into the human condition to say that the human being is really of value. The choices and decisions of each person should be dealt with dignity. So the incarnation has emphasized human dignity. Human dignity of reason and choice is honored. Modernity owes this way of thinking from Christianity. Jesus shifted the usual religiosity of his time away from the "functional" and "substantive" features of religion. Jesus moved away from rituals and offerings and sacrifices and group-ethnic identity. He focused on the value of each person.
Christianity is not alien to humanity. Because of the Incarnation Christianity values humanity. Christianity may be a religion but it steps out of the usual functional and substantive religion because the importance is given to the human reason and choice. Let us try to explain this more. In the core of the Gospel the human person is respected fully. The Incarnation of Christ affirms the autonomy of the human person to choose and decide on life. Hence the human person is not PUT UNDER social forces. The human person is to discern and act without the pressures of the "functional". More important than cultural and religious and political boxes is the human person. Christ has affirmed this.

What can be the resonsbility of Christianity today?

a. The Church can witness to the value and honor of the human person as Christ did. In front of the many issues we face, that of injustice, inequality, consumerism and hedonism, we can, as Church show that the human is valued more than these.
b. Societies want to install justice and peace and economic equality. It is hard. Something more may have to be added. Christianity can offer this by introducing a cuture of love, compssion, forgiveness. Pope Francis himself said that what the world needs today is an experience of forgiveness.
c. Today we see the degradation of the environment. We have our theology of creation. We have a sense of the Sabbath that invites all to take a distance--a reverential distance--from the created world.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas and the Social Doctrine of the Church

1. Christmas is the Advent Season and the celebration of the Incarnation. The Word became flesh, wrote John, and decided to dwell among us. The fact that the Word became flesh is an honor to our humanity. Jesus Christ "emptied" himself and became human and even slave, as St. Paul wrote. The human is so dear in the eyes of God, this is why he sent his Son to be one of us, to be "in solidarity" with us.

2. Let us see how this can connect with the Social Doctrine of the Church. Let us first focus on the sections #105 to #122 of the Compedium.

3. The Church sees the human as image of God. (See #105). This being image of God IS FULLY EXPLAINED IN CHRIST. Christ is the PERFECT IMAGE of the Father. It is in Christ where we have a full revelation of God. More than this, in Christ WE ARE ALSO FULLY REVEALED TO OURSELVES.

4. This is Traditional thinking taking from the early Church councils. Jesus Christ coming "from above" is able to communicate to us the divine. Jesus Christ who is also "from below" is able to say, in human terms, the path leading to God. This path leading to God INCLUDES OUR "YES" TO OUR HUMANITY. We recognize the value and beauty of our being human as image of God and so we become ready to say "yes" also to God's invitation to a life of communion with him.

5. Our difficulty in our saying "yes" lies in our wounded state. We are wounded with the deep wound which we call as “sin”. Sin is our alienation from God and from one another (see #116). Our communion with God is wounded and our friendship of unity with others is also wounded.

6. The Compendium will add that this is not just a personal sin of each of us. It is also a SOCIAL SIN. (See #117). We have become aggressive against justice, against human rights and dignity, against the common good, against our wonderful human relationships.

7. We long for salvation out of sin. Without any sense of salvation we become pessimists. We cannot see any value in the things we do, in the achievements we make. Christian realism, says the Compendium, sees Jesus Christ destroying sin and death. "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world" (Jn 16/33). Be cheerful, Jesus has won over the hold of death and sin.

8. A big part of what Christ has done was TO SHED LIGHT ON OUR OWN BEING IMAGE OF GOD. (See #121). Because of our wound, because of “sin”, we find it difficult to see ourselves as beloved of God. We are caught in the web of trouble as if there is no other way but to sin and cause death. But Jesus Christ came--the Word became flesh--to AFFIRM the value of our humanity. Jesus Christ came to AFFIRM the dignity of our being human: image of God.

9. The coming of Jesus Christ is then about manifesting fully in us who we really are. Vatican II document, Gaudium et spes, noted this, "The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light" (Gaudium et spes #22).  Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God, has also manifested our vocation to live in communion with God.

10. The Compendium then concludes that the reality of Christ is not really something “new”. so to speak.  It is not something added to our history. "It is rather that reality of communion with the Trinitarian God to which men and women have always been oriented in the depths of their being, thanks to their creaturely likeness to God" (Compendium #122). In other words, from the very start of our being created by God, the reality of Christ has already been actual. By nature we, humans, HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ORIENTED TO COMMUNION WITH GOD. This reminds us of one Church Father, Tertullian,  who meditated about the time of our creation. He wrote that when God was creating the human he had Jesus Christ in mind.

11. We may have sinned. We may be wounded. But the dignity of being image of God and with the vocation of being in full communion with God is NEVER DELETED. Jesus Christ came to join us, to be human just like us with his Incarnation, to precisely affirm who we are. This is "salvation".

A note on Salvation taking from a document of a Papal Commission: COMMUNION AND STEWARDSHIP: Human Persons Created in the Image of God, document of INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION

1. The human is created in the image of God. The vocation is to live the communion of the life of the Trinity. With our wound--called SIN--we refuse to engage in this vocation. Sin is the DISFIGURATION of our being Image of God. We are alienated from God and from one another. In fact, because of sin, we are alienated from our very own selves. Rejecting God's invitation to a communion, we also reject even our fraternal existence in society. Sin does not delete our dignity as image of God. The image is DISFIGURED AND NOT DELETED.

2. What then is "salvation" here? "Salvation entails the restoration of the image of God by Christ who is the perfect image of the Father" (#47). Christ conforms us to himself. In other words, he re-configures the dis-figured image and brings it back to its true and authentic form. The human person is "fully realized". Thanks to the grace of Christ (and the Holy Spirit) we are transformed.

3. Theologically, we say that WE REALLY NEED SALVATION. We have the natural desire to live with God. Sin does not destroy this desire just as it does not remove our dignity. But we, humans, just see how INCAPABLE we are of saving ourselves. We need grace to transform us. Christ gives us this grace.

4. The Paschal experience of Christ has made it possible for us "to participate in the death to sin that leads to life in Christ" (#49). The cross leads to a new life. We die; our egoism dies, our aggression against justice and human dignity dies. Our option for sin dies. The great grace of Christ for us is, precisely, his Paschal mystery, his CONFIDENCE IN THE FATHER, his willingness to face the consequence of love for us which is the cross, and his rising again to a new life. It is a whole passage. It tells us ABOUT OUR OWN TRANSFORMATION. To us is communicated the path "of a new life of freedom, a life 'FREED FROM'AND 'FREED FOR'"(#50). What does this curious expression mean?

5. We are FREED FROM SIN. We are FREED FROM SUFFERING AND DEATH. Salvation, here, means that we are freed from the hold of sin and death. Of course we still suffer and die. But suffering and death now takes a new meaning. We make the effort to live properly AND THIS CAUSES SUFFERING AND DEATH FOR US. But in confidence in God the suffering is not vain. Death is not vain. We do not suffer and die for egoism and injustice and human indignity. We die for truth, justice, peace, we die for the Kingdom. We admit that God loves us. We admit and recognize the very value and dignity of our humanity. Jesus has affirmed this. Jesus has confirmed that we are so beloved in the eyes of God we are not rejected by God. Seeing this we are reconciled with God.

6. So WE DO NOT LIVE UNDER THE RULE OF INDIGNITY. "Salvation is a liberation from sin which reconciles man with God, even in the midst of a continuing struggle against sin conducted in the power of the Holy Spirit"...."Salvation brings a liberation from suffering and death which acquire new meaning as a saving participation through the suffering, death and resurrection of the Son" (#50-51).

7. Note then that salvation is being "freed from" the rule of sin so that we are free to move to God: "FREED FOR" authentic love; "FREED FOR" new life in God" (#51). The conclusion is made: "This 'freedom for' is made possible by Jesus Christ, the perfect icon of the Father, who restores the image of God in man" (#51).

8. Take a look at the story of the so-called "prodigal son" in Lk15/11-32. The young son was still far bu the Father was hoping for his return. Upon the return of the young son the Father started a feast. The son was "lost", he returned and "found again". In Jesus’terms, he was “restored again” TO HIS TRUE IMAGE AS SON.  This was already in the perspective of the Father. Remember that the son had a speech prepared to say that he was returning not anymore as a son but, possibly, as a slave. The son was returning with the identification of the old image, the image of a son who rejected his father. The Father did not listen to this. He continued to be SON. Or in what we say, HIS DIGNITY AS IMAGE OF GOD continued. The Father simply accepted his return AS HIS SON. Jesus is saying something deep in this parable. Where are we as sinners and in despair? Are we also having a "speech"in our heads because we are not sure of how we are to be received by God? 

9. The parable makes the Father a "prodigal" Father. Why? He went "reckless" in spending for a feast for the son who returned. He was prodigal also because, unlike the "usual" way of behaving culturally where a father might punish an erring son, the Father in the parable turned his back on cultural behaviour. He was true to his Paternity. 

10. The son returned. That was all that the Father wanted. The son may have been a sinner; he may have broken the heart of the Father. He returned AS THAT TYPE OF A MAN. But the Father, the prodigal Father who "recklessly" welcomed back his son without conditions, did not demand virtues and conscientiousness from the son. The Father did not ask, "Ok, are you now a better person?" He just wanted CONVERSION. The son returned as the man who broke his Father's heart, ok, but the son was still welcomed and his return awakened the JOY OF THE FATHER. Now the son can ENTER THE JOY OF THE FATHER and stand AS A SON IN FRONT OF HIS FATHER. He can enter the joy of truth and feasting. Of course that will be the choice of the son. 

11. We are like two dancers in the desert, two dancers in a troubled world, we and Jesus Christ. We learn the steps with Christ until, one day, we can dance well with him. If we reflect on what the document is saying we will notice that salvation is not necessarily a “one-shot event”. Salvation is more of a process; it is a movement we make towards become more and more true to ourselves, IMAGE OF GOD. Jesus Christ has given us the grace--and continues to give us the grace--of taking this path through his Paschal Mystery. It is a path in which we are set FREE FROM the obstacles of to going to God and we are set FREE FOR moving to God. We say yes to our humanity, thanks to Jesus. But we do it in time, in history, in steps. The basic nature of our humanity includes time. “The human heart plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps” (Pr 16/9). 

12. We are like two dancers in the desert, two dancers in a troubled world, we and Jesus Christ. We learn the steps with Christ until, one day, we can dance well with him. Ok, we may not even dance well with him. Maybe our steps are awkward. Still what is important and wonderful is that WE DANCE WITH HIM. Jesus is not watching how skillful we are, he is just glad to see us dancing with him. 

13. We say this--that it is wonderful to dance with Christ even if awkwardly--because we have to be careful with one mis-understanding about God. A question can arise: if we do not manage to dance as well as Jesus, do we then go to hell? Remember that, Biblically, God is revealed as a God of life, not of death. God did not have his Son killed. He rose his Son from death, he did not kill him. God considers us as very important and precious--we are his IMAGE. Never is it the desire of God to send us to hell--to being us death. Making someone go to hell is not God's action. 

14. GOING TO HELL IS THE CHOICE OF A PERSON WHO DOES NOT WANT TO LIVE AS IMAGE OF GOD, WHO DOES NOT WANT THE VOCATION OF MOVING TO GOD AND WHO DOES NOT WANT TO DANCE WITH JESUS. The best example of this is the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Watch the behaviour of the rich man and how, in fact, he really wants to go, and stay, in hell.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Are the Poor Lazy?

1. Some say that poverty is because of laziness. Poor people have the culture to be lazy and abusive. This is NOT NECESSARILY TRUE. Laziness is not the monopoly of the poor. Even very rich people can be lazy. To say that poverty is due to the culture (of laziness) of some people is TO BLAME THE POOR, it is TO ACCUSE THE POOR.  This blaming the poor sees the poor as PRODUCER OF BAD SITUATIONS. It is to say that poverty is the fault of the poor. The poor put themselves in bad situations--it is "ïn the culture of the poor". 

2. Laziness as associated with poverty is a sign of a bias. Some of those who say it think that they are not poor; that they do not belong to the poor. To say the poor are lazy is a sign that poverty is not well understood. 

3. Some say that poor people have the attitude and behaviour of laziness different from the richer classes. The richer people are not lazy. Poverty then is a cuture of laziness too. Again this is an error. Many poor people who may be lazy are not the only lazy people inthe world. There are also the lazy rich.  Many of the poor work hard. Many of them strive hard.  

4. Most poor people are STEREOTYPED as lazy. But there are SO MANY POOR PEOPLE WHO WORK. The labor force of our countries are FILLED WITH VERY POOR PEOPLE. Work is a basic value for the poor AND MANY POOR PEOPLE LOOK FOR WORK, they are not lazy, THEY ARE LOOKING FOR WORK. Without work how can they feed their families? 

5. Unemployment is primarily due to lack of employment. It is not due to laziness. There are just NOT ENOUGH JOBS TO ACCOMODATE MANY PEOPLE. Lack of employment is a better explanation to poverty than laziness. 

6. To have a job gives the worker an advantage. BUT FOR THE POOR EVEN WORK IS NOT A GUARANTEE THAT HE/SHE HAS THE ADVANTAGE IN LIFE. Their salaries are not enough to feed well their families, bring their children to school and care for them in times of serious illnesses. Poor people who work remain, somehow, in the level of poverty because they do not receive sufficient income to pull out of misery. THEIR POVERTY S NOT DUE TO LAZINESS.

7. This bias that the poor are lazy and abusive leads to the idea that the poor do not stand on their own feet--they can be helped only by "welfare". In our local terms e say "dole out". Hence the relationship of other social members towards the poor is that of "pitying the poor" and giving them "dole outs". But then because the bias that the poor are lazy and are culturally low, even the dole out system is criticized. The criticism states that the dole out only encourages the poor to stay low in culture. The poor are even abusive.  

8. We may not also be aware that poor people who do not work or cannot work are INCAPABLE OF WORKING BECAUSE OF PHYSICAL OR INTELLECTUAL LIMITS. They may have been sick and handicapped by their illness, they could not find a suitable job. They may not have been able to go to school and develop their intellectual skills. Hence many work opportunities are closed to them. How can a handicapped person find a job? How can an illiterate find a job? It is not easy. IT IS NOT BECAUSE OF LAZINESS BUT BECAUSE OF LIMITS. 

9. The poor need help. It is not even a choice to seek for help. It is a NECESSITY. The poor need help TO SURVIVE. But prejudices and biases look at the poor as lazy and so the poor just want dole outs and gifts. These prejudices and biases even discourage giving the poor help. 

10. Yes, there are the lazy and abusive poor people. But there are lazy and abusive rich people too. To call the poor as lazy is a DISPROPORTIONATE GENERALIZATION. It is to label all poor as lazy. It is unfair. 

11. Finally, let us add a Biblical note. Jesus identified himself with the poor--the "least" in society. We see this in Matthew 25. What we do to the least, we do it to Jesus. Jesus joined the ranks of the poor and identified himself with the poor. IT WAS NOT MOTIVATED BY PITY OR BLAME. The poor are those who are really in the conditions that crush them; they are so powerless. They are so voiceless. They are so marginalized. Jesus joined them, he went "in solidarity" with them. 

12. Blessed Charles de Foucauld had an insight here. He asked himself why he should travel by first class in the train when Jesus travels in the third class, among the poor. This is striking. If we put ourselves in the position of blaming the poor, is it possible that we prefer riding in first class and avoid riding with Jesus in the third class?