THE SERVANT GENERAL
NO ONE IN NEED
JUSTICE AND ETERNAL LIFE
In the early Church there was no one in need. The formula
was simple. Those who had possessions sold them and gave the
money to the poor. Today that is still the same simple formula.
There are more than enough resources in the world, but such
resources are unevenly and unjustly distributed. There are
those who are very rich and those who are very poor. The rich
need to give to the poor.
are those rich who directly deprive the poor of what is theirs.
“Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who
harvested your fields are crying aloud” (Jas 5:4a).
These rich pay less than a just wage, withhold just benefits,
have sorry working conditions. There are those rich who just
live off the fat while being unmindful of those in dire need.
“You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure”
(Jas 5:5a). Such was the case with the rich man and Lazarus.
Whether directly or indirectly, such rich deprive the poor
of what God intends for them to have. In the direst circumstances,
many of the powerless poor are condemned to misery and even
death. “You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous
one; he offers you no resistance.” (Jas 5:6).
injustice for God’s beloved poor cries out to heaven.
There will be hell to pay (pun intended). As “the cries
of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts”
(Jas 5:4b), then the unjust rich must know their fate: “you
have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.”
then must the rich do to avoid such a fate? They must be mindful
of the poor, and share their resources. They must know that
how they use their worldly riches on earth will impact on
their eternal lives. “Come now, you rich, weep and wail
over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away,
your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver
have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against
you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored
up treasure for the last days.” (Jas 5:1-3). The rich
continue to accumulate more riches. For what? “At his
death he will not take along anything, his glory will not
go down after him.” (Ps 49:18).
rich, and everyone else, should look to eternity. What assures
our eternal reward in heaven? It is what we do to the least
of our brethren, which is what we do to Jesus himself. “Anyone
who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to
Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.”
(Mk 9:41). And what about one’s possessions? I paraphrase
Mark 9:43-47: “If your possessions cause you to sin,
cut it off (give it away). It is better for you to enter into
the kingdom of God without riches than with riches into the