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(Part 20)


January 12, 2016
Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 2:1-8

“For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he has set the world upon them.” (v.8c). Allow me to freely paraphrase this. “For the pillars of LCSC are the Lord’s, and He has set the Church upon them.” LCSC is intended for massive worldwide evangelization according to the call to the New Evangelization. The banner program, the LCS, proclaims the gospel, intending to reach the grassroots and peripheries. But there is more. There are the 4 pillars. These are what are truly important in the life of God’s people. Unfortunately, while much is happening in parishes and the Church is very busy, the essentials are oftentimes generally neglected.

  • Live Pure -- crucial for teaching the youth about chastity, as the culture of death is intent on pushing unbridled free sex, ending up in the destruction of faith, family and life.
  • Live the Word -- crucial for getting Catholics into the Bible, as most lay Catholics do not read the Bible, but ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.
  • Live Life -- crucial for renewing the family and defending life, as the assault of the enemy’s forces today are intent on destroying the very foundations of society and the Church.
  • Live Full -- crucial as there is such widespread poverty in the world, which brings instability, strife, disunity and even terrorism. We are called to bring God’s justice into the world by addressing poverty, thus moving toward peace.

Today we focus on the fourth pillar. This is our work with the poor, done through the No One in Need (NONe) movement. This work looks to God’s intent and to the Church’s preferential option for the poor. “He raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap lifts up the poor” (v.8a). More than material help, God looks to the dignity of the poor, as His beloved children and inheritors of His promises. God’s intent is “to seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage.” (v.8b).

Now have you noticed something when we read in the Bible about uplifting the poor? Oftentimes it is paired with bringing down the rich and powerful. This is the case with the beatitudes according to Luke (see Lk 6:24-26). This is the case with Mary’s Magnificat (see Lk 1:51-53). This is the case here in Hannah’s prayer (v.4-5). God loves, defends and upholds the poor. Read the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, and see God’s concern for the poor over and over, including His instructions to His people Israel.

So does God hate the rich as much as He loves the poor? Of course not. All are His children and He has their lives in their hands. “The Lord makes poor and makes rich, humbles, and also exalts.” (v.7). But here it is. God helps the poor through other human instruments. And those who can really help are the rich and powerful. The rich are supposed to use their (God’s) resources for the benefit of the Kingdom and God’s people. But oftentimes, the rich do not. And oftentimes, the rich and powerful are the very cause of massive poverty, by their corruption and selfishness.

The rich and powerful are often arrogant in their wealth and power. As they do not recognize God and His workings, they are in danger as they will face a severe last judgment. “Speak boastfully no longer, do not let arrogance issue from your mouths. For an all-knowing God is the Lord, a God who weighs actions.” (v.3). Even in this life, if God were to withhold His hand from them, they would just collapse. “The bows of the mighty are broken” (v.4a).

Now you might say: I am not among the rich and powerful. Perhaps. But you are also not destitute. Given massive poverty in the world, where for example millions in Africa might be starving, you are rich, in that you do not lack for basic necessities, and you might even have more than enough of the world’s goods. But again, it is not about being rich or poor, but about doing God’s will. What after all is arrogance?

  • It is when you trust in your own wisdom and strength rather than God’s.
  • It is when you act as if you gained your money or position due to your own human ability and talent rather than God’s blessing and His provision of whatever talent you might have.
  • It is when you do not share with others, especially the poor, the blessings that God entrusts to you as

His steward, which you are supposed to use to promote God’s purposes in the world.
Are you materially blessed? Do you want to continue to be blessed? Then thank God for such blessings that He has given you. Beyond gratitude, share your blessings. Remember, God weighs actions. There will be a reckoning, if not in this earth then in the afterlife. Let not God have to humble you by bringing you down from your wealth, power and position. Practice mercy and justice.

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Action point: Not all of you can regularly do direct work with the poor, or actively be part of NONe. But all of you can help in the day-to-day work that is being done, aside from just your prayers. This is by your regular financial contributions. Do not neglect your tithe to our community and the Church. In addition, help the evangelization work of LCSC through G300 (1,000 pesos per month), and help our prison ministry through G10K (100 pesos per month). Please let me know by email if you are with me in G300 and G10K.

It would be good if you discussed this article in your household meeting, and at the end, make a commitment to support G300 and/or G10K. For our brethren in First World nations, 100 pesos a month is just US$2.10 or less than 2 Euro. I would really appreciate the crumbs from your table. God bless you.

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