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LECTURE 1: JUSTICE AND POVERTY: PREFERENTIAL OPTION FOR THE POOR SIN root cause of poverty Causes man to suffer (affects not just individual but also community) POVERTY “paupertas”- pauper, poor lack of means to provide for material needs/comforts/material poverty, poverty of soul, poverty in spirit CLASSIFICATION OF POVERTY 1. POVERTY IN SPIRIT Totally depend on God God alone is our savior (sole source of all good gifts) SPIRITUAL POVERTY (share our blessings with the truly poor) “How blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs” – Mt. 5:3 2. POVERTY OF THE SOUL Lack of purpose in life Sense of hopelessness about any last meaning “Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” – Mt. 5:3 3. MATERIAL POVERTY Lack of sufficient material (basic human needs) Manifests itself in lack of necessary means for survival (scandalous) “In the same way faith: if good deeds do not go with it, it is dead” – James 2: 15-17 EVIDENCE OF MATERIAL POVERTY 80% of world’s population live in developing nation which only use 20% of world’s health Next 24 hrs, over 40,000 children will die of starvation/ diseases related to malnutrition World produces enough food to feed everyone, over 1B people are hungry – UN Women in developing countries live an average of 17 yrs less than the women in industrialized countries POVERTY – main cause of hunger Over 3B people lives on less than $2 per day – UNICEF 1 of 3 children in developing countries suffers from undernutrition BIBLE AND POVERTY GOD – concerned for welfare of poor, preferential option for the poor (Sacred Scriptures) JUSTICE OF A SOCIETY – tested by treatment of poor (Scriptures & Church teaching) BIBLE MEANS THE POOR Materially impoverished, members of lower class Afflicted and powerless Hungry, unclothed, homeless, prisoners Orphan Lepers whom society feared & isolated Sinners like the women caught in adultery Strangers & outsiders
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Widows who have no social status Outcast tax collectors ETHICS OF THE BIBLE 1. Generosity towards the poor “Do not reap to the edge of your fields” – Lev. 19:9 2. Care for the foreigner and alien “love the foreigner as yourself” – Lev. 19:34 3. Care for widows and orphans “Pure & faultless religion” – James 1:27 TREATMENT OF THE POOR IN OT 1. SABBATICAL YEAR Lands were not to be farmed, debts forgiven, slaves were to be let go 2. JUBILEE YEAR People return to their proper place in the community PROPHETS WARNED THE PEOPLE TO GET BACK TO JUSTICE TREATMENT OF THE POOR IN NT INCARNATION – great proof of God’s love for humanity & his great love & compassion for the poor “God emptied himself, taking the form of a slave….” – Phil. 2:6-8 JESUS lowly & lived a life of poverty associated with the poor & outcast parables & teachings reveal his attitude toward the poor “Parable of Good Samaritan” Lk. 7:11-17
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