The reading from the prophet Isaiah starts with a call to what we now refer to as social justice. It tells us to put an end to oppression and to feed the hungry. Despite all of the technological and societal advances since Isaiah’s time we have not made much progress. In fact, there is probably a greater divide between those that have the power and those that do not and between those who can eat in the finest dining establishments whenever they wish and those who hope to rummage through the garbage of others to find something to ease their hunger pains. I wonder if God doesn’t get terribly frustrated seeing the same privileged behavior over the centuries one generation after another.
I wonder because I am one of the “privileged”. I have wondered why I was born to parents who could afford to send me to private schools all the way through college. Why wasn’t I born to parents who just hope to have their children survive into adulthood either because of severe poverty or because of the violence of war in their time and place? Why was I in a position to be able to raise my children in comfort without the anguish and uncertainties of poverty and war? I know it is not because of some kind of favoritism; God loves each of us equally.
As I take this reflection further I begin to understand more completely how less can be more and that my “privilege” has its own price. God expects more from those who have been given more. I do not always listen to those expectations. I get caught up in the consumerism of our society. I often forget that anything that I have accomplished is because of God’s work in me, not on my own. I forget how totally dependant I am on Him for everything that I am and everything that I have. I am nothing without Him. I pray for God’s eternal patience with me; I want to be open to His expectations.
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