Daily Reflection
November 14th, 2007

Eileen Wirth

Department of Journalism
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Memorial of St. Joseph Pignatelli, S.J.
Wisdom 6:1-11
Psalm 82:3-4, 6-7
Luke 17:11-19

“Judgment is stern for the exalted for the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test …for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.”

A favorite student dropped into the office to chat about his fall break service trip to Appalacia. He has never before thought of himself as rich or privileged.

But on his trip, he met a man of 60 who looked 80 and was close to poverty for the first time. It was a big contrast to his life at Creighton or at home in Colorado. He has always been a giver but now he’s been sensitized to his lifelong obligation to give back.

This student exemplifies the way we should respond to today’s passage from Wisdom and the psalm reflecting on it: “Defend the lowly and the fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the lowly and the poor.”

It’s hard for most of us who live modest lives (by American standards) to realize that we are more privileged than all but the richest people in Biblical times. In all likelihood, most of us own more things than even King Solomon. Even if we don’t think of ourselves as rich or powerful, we are, especially in comparison with the millions who go to bed hungry, sleep in hovels and lack basic medical care. God will surely hold us accountable for how well we have used our good fortune to aid others.

My student had his eyes opened on his service trip to Appalacia but every community has people in need. Maybe we know someone who isn’t even poor but just lonely. As Mother Teresa said, that’s a type of spiritual poverty.

A confession: whenever I read something like today’s passage, I resolve to become noble and help people but then I get busy and go back to life as usual. So today my goal will be modest. For just this week (and hopefully the week after than then the week after that etc.) I’ll try to do one thing for others every day to thank God for all my blessings. It may not be much but it’s a start to meeting God’s demands.

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