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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace . . .

27 February 2015


Ezekiel 18
21But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live. He shall not die! 22None of the crimes he has committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the justice he has shown. 23j Do I find pleasure in the death of the wicked—oracle of the Lord GOD? Do I not rejoice when they turn from their evil way and live?
Matthew 5
For all of those who think that the secular, relativistic life is the "one for me", you really need to re-consider that choice.  When one considers all of this wonderful universe and how it's put together, I think that it's very difficult to not accept that a "higher power" is behind it all.  Just look at all of the laws of physics that remain constant no matter what.  Our scientists continually open our eyes to the wonderful world.  How can it just be all a random act?  Quite frankly, when I look up at the night sky, I am just plain awe struck at the immensity of it all, and marvel at the creation.  I just know that some intelligent, much more that we, being is behind it all. 
So, with all of these "natural laws" of the universe, that appear to remain so constant, how can one deny that our own creation, humankind itself, doesn't have some "moral code" written into our DNA.  When you reflect on all of the history of the world and consider all of the laws written and promulgated over the centuries, similar laws continually are formed by whatever society it is, no matter the location, no matter the language, no matter the history.  So, it seems reasonable, and even logical, that there are a set of "Natural Laws" which apply to humankind, just like those of the natural world.  Laws (constants) which are inherently a part of our human condition.
Our Judeo-Christian tradition has conveyed these natural laws to us and we, at our own peril, turn our backs on them in these modern times.  The passages quoted at the beginning provide some hope for those who choose to turn their back on these values.  Although some will use Jesus' associations with the sinners of his day as justification for their actions, or misquote Pope Francis in his "Who am I to judge" comment in effort to show how the Church is coming around, everyone always forgets the important things that are being said way back then and now.  Repent  - change your ways.  Ezekiel tells us that the wicked man repenting saves his soul.  The first thing Jesus says as he starts his ministry is "Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand."  Pope Francis constantly refers to the need to repent. 
So, as we travel through these days of reflection, one thing that all people need to be aware of is the need to reform their lives.  Now all of those who have hitched their star to the financial industry, or to a power position, or to a philosophy of "what I want to do is OK" are the exact people who Ezekiel is talking about.  The Matthew excerpt reminds us that the old laws are not changed, in fact the following passages reflect an even tougher standard for us to follow.  That may be why so many have chosen to go a different direction.
But, the promise to us is that if we do repent from our wrong headed direction and choices, we will be rewarded grandly.  How many people do you know who have a great bunch of money and are never satisfied?  Or, who are very important in their positions and want more power?  These are symptoms of wrong choices.  None of that money or power or prestige goes with you when you die.  You have to face our Maker and explain your choices.  And, we know how much better we feel when we help someone else out.
So, no matter how successful we become in today's world, we need to remember that we are just a small cog in a very large universe and that we will be judged, not only by others, but by the Creator himself on how we care for those who are less fortunate.  So, we might as well get to it!

26 February 2015

Who am I to judge?

Psalm 18

31God’s way is unerring;
the LORD’s promise is refined;
he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.p
32Truly, who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is the rock?q
33This God who girded me with might,
kept my way unerring,
Psalm 57
2Have mercy on me, God,
have mercy on me.
In you I seek refuge.
In the shadow of your wings* I seek refuge
till harm pass by.b
8My heart is steadfast, God,
my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and chant praise.g
9Awake, my soul;
awake, lyre and harp!
I will wake the dawn.*h
10I will praise you among the peoples, Lord;
I will chant your praise among the nations.I
The Psalmist understands the necessity of accepting that the LORD is the only and definitive authority in the universe.  The Psalmist recognizes that philosophies like secularism and relativism just don't cut it.  The Psalmist accepts that there is a code of conduct acceptable to the LORD and that it is necessary to seek solace with the LORD when things aren't going so well, and to ask for forgiveness for the things he has done wrong.  The Psalmist understands the concept of SIN. 
Oh, that we could accept that concept today.  With everyone running around setting their own standards and rules, it's no wonder there is no much anarchy.  The "gay lobby" especially took up the banner of the purported "quantum shift in the Church's position" when Pope Francis was quoted "Who am I to Judge?"  Except, like much of the time with the mainstream media, an important part of the quote was omitted, i.e., "Who am I to judge them if they're seeking the Lord in good faith?" is what he actually said.  Often the passage about people living in glass houses is quoted or the statement where Christ said to the women accused of prostitution, "Your sins are forgiven."    What people keep leaving out when they quote these sayings is, as Paul Harvey would call it, the rest of the story. 
Pope Francis wasn't condoning an active homosexual lifestyle, any more than Jesus Christ was approving the prostitutes.  "If they're seeking the Lord in good faith" and Christ's "now go and sin no more" are important parts of the "rest of the story" and a realization about the situation in which one finds oneself: acceptance of that code of conduct, that moral code based upon the natural law, that is inherent in belief in the Church's faith.  One cannot go about sinning at will, that is denying the existence of this natural law and its code of conduct, and really be "seeking the Lord in good faith".  One must accept that idea of sin and that there is a higher power that has created this natural law in the first place.   
So the Church rightly says that a person who is seeking the Lord in good faith can have a sordid past, because many of the saints have, in fact, had sordid pasts; but, they changed!  They turned their backs on that past and became a "new creation in Christ".  And look at what happened as a result, e.g., St. Francis, St. Augustine, Mother Theresa, and so on.
So we accept that God's promise is like gold and that He will take care of us, but we must choose to turn toward Him as the repentant sinners that we are and change our lives.  We Franciscans call it a daily conversion; that is, each day to resolve to move closer to God and make our best efforts to turn our back on sin.  We open ourselves to God's great love and that helps us understand that the way we "sin no more" is to live out that Golden Rule found in today's Gospel message:  Treat others as you would have them treat you.  Think of others first. Try to make their lives easier to live and sacrifice our comforts to make that happen.
As I have said before, we have really tried this ideas of selfishness and "ME, ME, ME" pretty well in this country.  Perhaps it's time to try giving ourselves selflessly to others recognizing the higher power of God' plan and accepting his charge to "go and sin no more."

25 February 2015

Who (what) is your God?

I love you, Lord, my strength, *
my rock, my fortress, my savior.
My God is the rock where I take refuge; *
my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.

The Lord is worthy of all praise: *
when I call I am saved from my foes.

He repaid me because I was just *
and my hands were clean in his eyes.
You are loving with those who love you: *
you show yourself perfect with the perfect.

With the sincere you show yourself sincere, *
but the cunning you outdo in cunning.
For you save a humble people *
but humble the eyes that are proud.

You, O Lord, are my lamp, *
my God who lightens my darkness.
With you I can break through any barrier, *
with my God I can scale any wall.

Psalm 18 various verses

Today, I think, many folks have an entirely different idea of who or what their god is.  In many cases, I'm not even sure that folks actually make a positive, conscious choice about even having a god.   Many have just decided to play along with the contemporary philosophy of relativism, that there is no absolute truth, that truth is dependent upon the circumstances.  Consequently, folks select differing things to be the center of their universe, e.g., money, power, influence, technology, sex, drugs, and the list goes on.   Folks are so enamored with accumulating whatever it is, that they, by default, have selected their god -  the thing that they actually worship more that all else.  Much of it is based upon their own self-reference, self-interest, and self-gratification.
Our Catholic faith tells us that pursuing these "things of the world" is chasing after a false god.  As the Psalmist indicates in today's selection, only the Lord, God (יהוה in the original Hebrew) is the true center of all things,  How else could something be a rock, a fortress, worthy of all praise, a lamp?  Of course, the clear assumption underlying this belief is that we humans are not the center of the universe; we accept that there is a "higher power", if you will, that is actually in charge of all creation, from the very beginning.
One cannot make the claim of the Psalmist without believing in the Supreme Love, the Great All Perfect Good Love of the Universe - the Creating God.  Yet when does hold this belief, ones attitude toward the everyday world is entirely different.  One looks on others as true brothers and sisters - part of a total family who are all in this enterprise together trying to make the world a better place to live, as opposed to those who are trying to grab all that they can for themselves.
I don't really know for sure, but I think that our society has made a good effort at the selfish way for the last 40 years.  Don't you think that maybe, just maybe, it's time to try this other way?  Not the false hope portrayed by so many television evangelists, but the true path outlined by Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Covenants.  Accepting that concept, there really is an absolute truth, there is a yard stick against which we are all measured and that makes living this life much easier. 
I think that much of what Pope Francis is trying to say to us, like Jesus, it to get us outside of ourselves and become concerned with others and especially those who are less fortunate.  If we became more concerned with our responsibility to others instead of our own individual rights, we could realize this transformation.  Help those who have little - at it will be really amazing what kind of treasure one gains.  But it's not about the accumulation of treasure; that is a side benefit. It's about how we serve others (Matthew 25 again!!!).  So, let's get down to the service thingy, huh?

24 February 2015

The true Creator God - judgement

2Arrogant scoundrels pursue the poor;
they trap them by their cunning schemes.a
3The wicked even boast of their greed;
these robbers curse and scorn the LORD.b
4In their insolence the wicked boast:
“God does not care; there is no God.”c
5Yet their affairs always succeed;
they ignore your judgment on high;
they sneer at all who oppose them.
6They say in their hearts, “We will never fall;
never will we see misfortune.”
7Their mouths are full of oaths, violence, and lies;
discord and evil are under their tongues.d
8They wait in ambush near towns;
their eyes watch for the helpless
to murder the innocent in secret.e
9They lurk in ambush like lions in a thicket,
hide there to trap the poor,
snare them and close the net.f
10The helpless are crushed, laid low;
they fall into the power of the wicked,
11Who say in their hearts, “God has forgotten,
shows no concern, never bothers to look.”g
          Psalm 10: 2-11

10* Yet just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
11So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me empty,
but shall do what pleases me,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
                             Isaiah 55:  10-11

5“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. 7* In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.* 8Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
The Lord’s Prayer. 9* “This is how you are to pray:c
Our Father in heaven,*
hallowed be your name,
10your kingdom come,*
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.d
11* e Give us today our daily bread;
12and forgive us our debts,*
as we forgive our debtors;f
13and do not subject us to the final test,*
but deliver us from the evil one.g
14* If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.h 15But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.i
                                   Matthew 6:  5-14
Well, a bunch of quotes today and fitting I think for our consideration of this topic.  Today, it seems as though no one is listening to the Word.  Isaiah reminds us that God does not sent anything down without it accomplishing its purpose.  We may not always see what that end is to be, but nonetheless, it does accomplish its proper designated end.
So, we have the Psalmist decrying the apparent haughty ignorance of the "wicked" in the first citation above.  It does seem as though much of today's world believes that "God is dead".  Many folks accumulate for themselves the power, treasure, and influence right now without regard how their efforts affect others, especially the poor.  Other places in Matthew 6, Jesus says that they have gotten their reward.  So, although it appears that those who do all of the "nasties" outlined in the Psalm are getting away with it, they will eventually face a judgment suited just for them.  With the Psalmist we pray, "Our hope is in the Lord."
The Lord's Prayer, or "Our Father" as it is called in Catholic circles, is a reminder of the order in which we ought to pray.  If we spend all of our time praying for our own individual wants, we are probably no better than those who pray to pagan gods.  In fact, much of today's celebration of success and power is really a tribute to the gods of money, power, and influence - modern day's attempt to replace the true Creator God with gods that we can control and manipulate to our desires. 
Our true response to the true Creator God is to ask for our lives to be aligned with His purpose.    In grateful recognition of the many gifts with which we have been bestowed, we recognize that we a just a very small, insignificant cog in this entire universe and that what really matters is how we treat others, especially those who are less fortunate that us.  We may end up being very successful in our chosen career, but in grateful acceptance of those gifts, we recognize that we must share our blessing with others.  Then, the Psalmist's lament will turn into a song of joy and God's Word will return to Him having accomplished it full end.
Ultimately, God does care.  God does exist, no matter what some think.  Their ignorance on this issue will someday become a startling revelation.  Each will be judged on how their treat others (yesterday's message) and how they judge others (today's message).  God will care for those who love him, who try to become the people he wants them to be.  May we be those people.  May God Give You Peace!

23 February 2015


What benefactor has enabled you to look out upon the beauty of the sky, the sun in its course, the circle of the moon, the countless number of stars, with the harmony and order that are theirs, like the music of a harp? Who has blessed you with rain, with the art of husbandry, with different kinds of food, with the arts, with houses, with laws, with states, with a life of humanity and culture, with friendship and the easy familiarity of kinship?

Let us put into practice the supreme and primary law of God. He sends down rain on just and sinful alike, and causes the sun to rise on all without distinction. To all earth’s creatures he has given the broad earth, the springs, the rivers and the forests. He has given the air to the birds, and the waters to those who live in the water. He has given abundantly to all the basic needs of life, not as a private possession, not restricted by law, not divided by boundaries, but as common to all, amply and in rich measure. His gifts are not deficient in any way, because he wanted to give equality of blessing to equality of worth, and to show the abundance of his generosity.

Oratio 14, De Pauperum amore Saint Gregory of Nazianzen, bishop
Part of today's goal was to comment upon the fabricated dichotomy between science and faith.  The first paragraph sort of states that God has generously lavished us with many gifts all of which science tries to explain for us.  I think this is really a simple thing to get ones head around.  Faith explains why; science explains how.  Two different questions. Two different viewpoints.  Neither of them are really incompatible with the other, unless you try to interpret the words of the why written in the Bible as actually occurring the way they say they do.  There is nothing really contradictory between God creating the world and it actually taking millions of years, or the process through which it has been made.  I think to try to distinguish between the two is just looking for a fight that really isn't there.  Modern science and the modern church are really looking at the stars from different points on the prism, but looking at the same thing in reality.
But this passage and today's gospel require some comment as well:  "he wanted to give equality of blessing to equality of worth..."
The last sentence of the second paragraph says more about the why that is critical to the Gospel passage from today (Matthew 25: 31-46).  God has, in fact, showered us with blessings beyond our wildest imagination.  Jesus calls us to be certain that we share our blessing with those less fortunate.  To do so is a really good thing.  To not do so results in a pretty nasty ending. 
I've written about this concept a bunch before and will probably come back to it, because in our society today there is a tendency to forget about the poor, unfortunate, and marginalized.  We need to heighten our response to these folks and get out of our self-centeredness to even have a beginning for turning this country around.  Hopefully, our legislators in both our states and at the national level will figure this out before it's too late.  One can only hope and pray.

22 February 2015


13“But,” said Moses to God, “if I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what do I tell them?” 14God replied to Moses: I am who I am.* Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.  
15God spoke further to Moses: This is what you will say to the Israelites: The LORD, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.
this is my title for all generations.
Exodus 3: 13-15 
25* l I will sprinkle clean water over you to make you clean; from all your impurities and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26m I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.n 27I will put my spirit within you so that you walk in my statutes, observe my ordinances, and keep them.
Ezekiel 36: 25-27 

Today's culture appears to relieve itself of the responsibility of the concept of God, the all good Creator of the universe.  Rather, one supposes that science is the master explanation of all that is, was, and will be.  It appears that only through the "good graces" of science do anything have any meaning and only through its proofs can anything exist.  The corollary, of course, is that each person is his own arbiter of moral rectitude and behavior.
What I like about the meeting with God by Moses is that we people of good will and faith discover that the "God of our Fathers" exists.  That's right, just exists.  "I am who I am."  Has been, is now, and will be forever.  The "to be" verb is an interesting one because it does convey that property of existing.  Interestingly, the title "Supreme Being" conveys that quality of existing - but at a level far beyond our meager existence.  We have conveniently used the word GOD to convey this "existing".
Unfortunately, too many folks today have supplanted a belief in this "Existing Being" for the belief in things more practical like, power, money, science, or "me".  What many of us have discovered over the years is that they more physical things end up being very transient when it comes to overall satisfaction and goodness.  Oh, yeah, there is that momentary excitement when one wins the lottery, but many of those folks end up right where they started.  How much is enough when it comes to money? Or power?  Or whatever?
If we set aside these physical things and emotions and allow the words of Ezekiel to soak in, we discover that the "heart of flesh" is that "God of love" that often hear about but don't seem to be able to find.  When we allow "I AM" to be the center of our lives, we find a liberating freedom because we get outside of ourselves and turn to the "other" in our lives.  Good thing to be doing during this season of Lent - turn away from the sinful selfishness of our lives and look for ways to ease the burdens of another.  Go ahead. Try it!

20 February 2015


But the words they spoke were mere flattery; *
they lied to him with their lips.
For their hearts were not truly with him; *
they were not faithful to his covenant.

Yet he who is full of compassion *
forgave them their sin and spared them.
So often he held back his anger *
when he might have stirred up his rage.

He remembered they were only men, *
a breath that passes never to return.

Psalm 78

Yup, there it is in good old black and white. 
"They lied to him with their lips for their hearts were not truly with him", "Yet he who is full of compassion forgave them their sin and spared them."
Pretty much says it all.  Today's society has turned its back on God's ways as a whole.  Oh I'm not saying that every single person has, but as a whole, contemporary US society has pretty much said, "No, thanks" to the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes.  Without a general agreement on the concept of sin or a wholesale belief that sin doesn't exist anymore, society has pretty much turned its back on the Creator.  Like I saw on Facebook today, "If there was no God there'd be no reason to be an Atheist." 
So, why do all these folks go around railing against the moral tenets advocated by the Church.  You know, this isn't a cafeteria line where you get to pick and choose which of the natural laws you want to agree with.  Don't pick gravity.  Don't pick magnetism. Don't pick the speed of light or sound.  Just because you don't pick them, doesn't make it so. 
The natural law is inherent in human behavior because we were created in the image of the Trinity. (Then God said: Let us make* human beings in our image, after our likeness. Genesis 1:  26Yup, God was plural in the beginning.  We are created with these moral imperatives already encoded in our circuits.  That's why most societies have laws against murder, incest, theft, and so on.  Everyone still has that quiet little voice that twangs when you do something that is really stupidly wrong.  Our faith tradition just does a pretty good job of explaining how this all works.
What we need is to rekindle a healthy respect for what is truly right and wrong.  A good healthy respect for sin -  
Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.
 Catechism #1850

When we acknowledge that sin exists (and its hard to ignore the above definition), we gain a healthy respect for the reality of our lives.  We recognize that concentrating on "what feels good" really isn't the best way to proceed through life.  Ultimately, we recognize that the whole point of Jesus' message is to repent of this selfishness, turn back to God's way, and enjoy the good life as it was originally meant to be.  Think of other first, knowing that is what God's love is all about.

19 February 2015

Today's morality

Yet there still is required a daily renewal to repair the shortcomings of our mortal nature, and whatever degree of progress has been made there is no one who should not be more advanced. All must therefore strive to ensure that on the day of redemption no one may be found in the sins of his former life.
 St. Leo, the Great; Sermo 6 de Quadragesima

 Deuteronomy 30
Luke 9
I am reading the book "Roman Pilgrimage, The Station Churches" by George Weigel for part of my Lenten reflections.  This is a good book.  I used it last year and gained quite a bit from it and recommend it to anyone trying to gain insight in a stronger faith..  Well in today's entry Mr. Weigel writes that as Israel passed from a slave people to a free people and while they journeyed through the desert after leaving Egypt and passing through the Red Sea, they had to rid themselves of some of their former bad habits that they developed whilst being slaves.  He lists those as
  • the habit of self-worship;
  • the habit of bad morals.
Or, as he writes as Blessed John Henry Newman put it
  • from shadowy false gods to the true God;
  • from the fantasy of self-worship to the truth of worshipping the Father through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit;
  • from the illusion of the autonomous, self-defining self to the truth of the self-giving self.
These quotes from today's readings and from Mr. Weigel's excellent book serve to outline the contrast between what is good and right and the overall philosophy of many people in today's society in the United States.  Our country has gravitated to a philosophy of personal morality and relativism which generally states, "if it feels good, do it."  As a society, we have turned our backs on the very sensible moral code, one that has been (as St. Pope John Paul II puts it) "built into men and women from the very beginning."
I think in this point the Church is right.  Humankind has the innate coding of a moral behavior which is effectively right.  It is not the code that allows one to decide for itself what is right.  Rather, it is like a natural law that is right for all peoples.  Why else would nearly all societies in the world have a "law" against murder, adultery, theft, and so on.  Here in the US we say that it's OK for one to selectively choose from the cafeteria line those actions which we believe are correct, e.g., unrestricted sex, abortion, and everything is fine.  But then, on the other hand, we continue to express moral certainties about murder and theft.  In essence, we glorify the self against the overwhelming evidence that there is something greater than us motivating the activities of life here.  In essence, we have made ourselves and our pleasure GOD.
It is true that humankind has been given the freedom of choice and that the Divine Creator will not interfere with that freedom.  So, folks can decide to ignore the commandments outlined in the many religious traditions.  But to do so imperils the long term likelihood of eternal happiness and ultimate freedom as illustrated in the texts quoted at the beginning of today's entry.
To correct this issue and probably many of the societal and political issues of our day, we ought to re-consider this laissez-faire approach to morality, return to the natural law absolutes, and re-aim for the target of "self-giving self."  We ought to look out for others first.  We ought to re-direct our political will to confirming the natural law and consider helping the less fortunate as our primary obligation.  And, we need to recognize that this will be a daily effort in forgiveness, reconciliation, and conversion.

18 February 2015

Christian civil activity

This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
   releasing those bound unjustly,
  untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
  breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
   sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
   and not turning your back on your own.

                     Isaiah 58

So the Christian world begins the season of repentance today.  One of the tenets of the Church is a call for fasting.  Isaiah words for today's Office of the Readings call for a kind of fasting that implies a civil activity that is counter to most folks ideas for our political system.   People today say that church folks should stick to praying and worship.  But, when we see texts like this, how can we refrain from speaking out against actions of our governments (federal, state, local) that run counter to this command to help the most vulnerable in our society.  On the other hand, Christians are counter-cultural.  We are required by our belief to have, in the words of our Bishops, a "preferential option for the poor."  How can we just sit by and let our governments create tax relief and programs for those who don't really need the help while so many people in this country go without. 
Today in his budget message the Governor of Illinois basically said that those who are poor can just go looking somewhere else.  The State of Illinois doesn't care about your problems.  We will balance our budget on your backs.  The US House of Representatives in DC wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and relieve some 11 million people of their health insurance.  They don't want to fix the problems, just repeal the entire thing without having something to replace it and help those who wouldn't have any health insurance any other way.  The US Senate and current Administration wants to maintain total free access to "health care" options for women that end the life of unborn babies.  How can we just sit by and not respond to these grossly indecent and uncaring policies?
By virtue of our baptism as Christians, we must enter into the political life of our country and speak out for and promote programs that care for the most vulnerable.  Was it Gandhi who said, " A nations greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members."?  Many other writers have expressed the same sentiment. So, in today's social construct are we to allow the poor to go it on their own?  "If they'd rather die, then they had better do it and decrease the surplus population. Good night, gentlemen." (Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol"; Charles Dickens)  Is that the message that we want to pass on to all of those less fortunate, many of whom are there because of certain business policies that line the pockets of the mega rich at the expense of their employees and former employees? 
As Christians we have an obligation to speak out against injustice; to act in the presence of policies that leave out a large segment of the populace from the benefit of the American wealth.  Or, are we just to repeat the unlearned lessons from the 1920's and allow the rich grow their wealth at the expense of the rest of the country and face, yet another, financial and economic collapse.

As put by Living Space (sacredspace.ie) for the Thursday after Ash Wenesday:

The only way to live is, like Jesus, to offer our lives for the benefit of others in love, in caring, in solidarity, in compassion, in justice. This is the only way truly to find ourselves and to come out winners. What is the good of winning the whole world – becoming incredibly rich and famous – and to lose one’s integrity, one’s self-respect, one’s dignity as a person, one’s happiness?

I think that it is high time that all Christians, Jews, Muslims, and all other people of Good Will should make a stand against the policies that intentionally exclude a large segment of people from the goodness of the United States' economic power.  Though our lobbying of our elected leaders, participation in the upcoming election, and protesting on the streets, we must signal that this direction of our culture is indeed wayward.  Part of the implication of "all men are created equal" is that everyone should have equal opportunity to the benefits created in this type of government and that we all have a obligation to help those who are less fortunate to learn how to raise themselves up in pride, dignity, and with grace.  Let's begin this revolution today.