Poverty - the wellsprings of solidarity
23 March 2011 - The Archbishop's Third Lent Reflection follows...
'Widows Mite' - a bronze biblical coin. Early 1st. Cent. AD Holy Land.
D.T. Niles said that the Good News of God is Christ makes all his followers to be like "one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread". In Lent we are reminded that we should share in the life of Jesus, who called himself the Bread of Life, and our wealth, our material daily bread if you like. If only we did this more effectively, how different the world would be.
Research shows that Britain is more divided than ever between the rich and the poor. We need to 'mind the gap' which has opened up between the haves and the have-nots – otherwise there is a danger that many people will fall into the hole between!
Wherever I go, at home or abroad, I have often noticed that those who live in the poorest communities are the most welcoming and generous in their hospitality. There is a dignity about giving, about contributing to the common good, which the poor seem to appreciate more than the well-off, because they see what a privilege it is. Jesus pointed out a poor widow putting her last mite into the offering – her action put the wealthier worshippers to shame because she gave her all. It is those who have the most resources who bear greatest responsibility for bridging the gap.
We all need to rediscover the wellsprings of solidarity – the unstoppable grace which hold us together as a human family. What would this look like in the community where you live? What could you do to help make it happen?
Jesus, you rested at a well once and you gave the woman of Samaria the honour of drawing you water when you were thirsty. She quenched your thirst, then you offered her the living water, a new life to replace the shame and broken relationships of the past. Help me to see where I am needy, and where I have something to offer. Help me to play my part in making things better, with your Spirit in me to give me strength. Amen.