Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Christians face to face with economic injustice and poverty
“that they may become one in your hand”
Lev 25: 8-14 The jubilee which liberates
"Seven weeks of years shall you count--seven times seven years--so that the seven cycles amount to forty-nine years.
Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month let the trumpet resound; on this, the Day of Atonement, the trumpet blast shall re-echo throughout your land.
This fiftieth year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when every one of you shall return to his own property, every one to his own family estate.
In this fiftieth year, your year of jubilee, you shall not sow, nor shall you reap the aftergrowth or pick the grapes from the untrimmed vines.
Since this is the jubilee, which shall be sacred for you, you may not eat of its produce, except as taken directly from the field.
"In this year of jubilee, then, every one of you shall return to his own property.
Therefore, when you sell any land to your neighbor or buy any from him, do not deal unfairly.
Ps 146 The Lord executes justice for the oppressed
Praise the LORD, my soul; I shall praise the LORD all my life, sing praise to my God while I live.
I Put no trust in princes, in mere mortals powerless to save.
When they breathe their last, they return to the earth; that day all their planning comes to nothing.
Happy those whose help is Jacob's God, whose hope is in the LORD, their God,
The maker of heaven and earth, the seas and all that is in them, Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free;
the LORD gives sight to the blind. The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD protects the stranger, sustains the orphan and the widow, but thwarts the way of the wicked.
The LORD shall reign forever, your God, Zion, through all generations! Hallelujah!
1 Tim 6: 9-10 The love of money is the root of all evil
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains.
Lk 4: 16-21 Jesus and the jubilee as liberation
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read
and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord."
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them, "Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
We pray for the kingdom of God to arrive. We long for a world where people, in particular the poorest, do not die before their appointed time. However, the economic system of the world today aggravates the situation of the poor and accentuates social inequity.
Today the world community is confronted with the growing precariousness of labour and its consequences. The idolatry of the market (profit), like the love of money according to the author of the Epistle to Timothy, thus appears as ‘the root of all evil’. What can and must the churches do in this context? Let us look at the biblical theme of jubilee which Jesus evoked to define his ministry.
According to the Leviticus text, during the jubilee, liberation was to be proclaimed; economic immigrants could return to their homes and their family; if somebody had lost all his goods he could also live with the populace as a foreign resident. Money was not to be lent for interest nor food sold for profit.
The jubilee implied a community ethic, the freeing of slaves and their return home, the restoration of financial rights and the cancellation of debts. For the victims of unjust social structures, this meant the restitution of law and of their means of existence.
The priorities of today’s world, in which ‘more money’ is seen as the highest value and goal of life, can only lead to death. As churches, we are called to counter this by living together in the spirit of jubilee and following Christ, spreading this good news. As Christians experience the healing of their divisions they become more sensitive to other divisions which wound humanity and creation.
God of justice, there are places in this world overflowing with food, But others where there is not enough and where the hungry and the sick are many. God of peace, There are those in this world who profit from violence and war and others who because of war and violence are forced to leave their homes and become refugees. God of compassion, Help us to understand that we cannot live by money alone but that we can live by the word of God, Help us to understand that we cannot attain life and true prosperity except by loving God and obeying his will and his teaching. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Posted by contrarian 78 at 4:48 AM