The following is summarized from an article by Rev. M.L. Smith:
Some time ago, Harvard University invited Mother Teresa to fly to America to give a commencement address. The invitation stated they desired “the most famous person in one of the world’s poorest nations, to address the world’s richest nation.”
Mother Teresa took offense to that statement.
“India is not a poor nation,” she responded. “India is a very rich nation. She has a wealth of riches, true spiritual riches. And America is not a rich nation, but a very poor nation – in fact, a desperately poor nation, for she slaughters her own unborn children.”
Through spiritual eyes, Mother Teresa was able to see the poverty of our Western society, a society that is considered rich and blessed by worldly standards, but is in reality spiritually poor.
How could a nation be thought rich when she fails to protect her own unborn, her most vulnerable, from murder?
How could a nation be thought rich which not only permits such things but openly promotes and embraces them as acts of person freedom?
No, these are symptoms of a society that is deeply spiritually impoverished.
When you look at our society values here in the High Prairie area through worldly eyes, you may think we are rich; we are certainly blessed with material goods and riches, far more than in most areas of the world.
But what good has that wealth brought us? Has our affluence drawn us closer to God?
No! In fact, statistics suggest the opposite: the more affluent a society is, the less religious it is.
Why? Well, our Lord tells us: we cannot serve two masters – God and money.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” [Matthew 6:24]
The more affluent a society becomes, the more tempted it is to serve the idol of money and worldly matters rather than God.
How many fail to do what God asks because of worldly distractions” How many place worldly matters first and neglect the needs of our soul?
We are all guilty of this! We break not only the first commandment but also the other great commandment of love our neighbours as ourselves. At times, we have all failed to speak up for the vulnerable, the unborn, the weak, and the downtrodden. We have failed to live as God has called us to. We are very poor indeed.
When we look at the fruits of our own culture, we see a people desperately poor in things of the spirit. And yet God does not abandon us to our impoverishment. Despite our failures to serve God and neighbour, despite our spiritual poverty, Jesus is still at work here. He comes to us with the power of the cross, calling us to repent, to turn from the worldly things which distract us from loving Him and serving our neighbour, and to understand that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
He calls us to trust in Him – the One who came to proclaim good news to the poor and grant liberty to those held captive in sin. Wherever His Word is faithfully proclaimed and His sacraments rightly administered, He promises to be with us always with His mercy and forgiveness.
St. Paul writes, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” [Ephesians 5:15-17]
And again, “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” [Ephesians 5:11]
I pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us to “look carefully” in this way, so that we may discern what is pleasing to the Lord, that we, like Mother Teresa, will look to boldly expose those sins that impoverish our society and guide people instead to the treasure of Jesus Christ.