Pope Francis and Children
- Dec. 22, 2021
-- Christians are familiar with the Biblical story, written in Matthew, Luke, and Mark (Mark 10:17-27), where a rich man approached Jesus. "What else should I do to enter the Kingdom of God and enjoy all it contains?" the wealthy man asked. Jesus replied, "Sell all your possessions, give the money to the poor, and join my ministry." Not liking what he heard, the rich man walked away. From Mark's account, one might conclude that Jesus was trying to divorce the rich man from his wealth. And that alone was painful enough, but asking him to give the proceeds to others was unbearable beyond any consideration.
I often wonder how the rich man would have reacted if Jesus had not gone hook, line, and sinker on him. By asking him to sell all
that he had—by making it all
or none for him—Jesus actually made it easier for the wealthy man to make a decision. What if Jesus proposed that the rich man sell 10% or even 1% of his possessions and sweetened the offer with a part-time place in his ministry? It is possible that both the master and the rich man might have had longer and richer conversations.
Still, the outcome would have been the same if that rich man is anything like today's rich men. After all, just look at the world today. Look at all of the misery in the midst of luxury. Then, look at how lots of fabulously rich people display disgust whenever they are asked to give a little bit of their wealth in taxes to the poor.
Like the rich man in the Biblical story, today's well-to-do might be walking away from what God and mankind demand of them. They would rather explore space, drive Lamborghinis, live on a hundred acres of land, and live in multimillion-
dollar homes rather than give a little bit to the poor. Intense selfishness robs us of empathy for what the less privileged are going through. Arguing that wealthy people worked their butts off, while the poor are all lazybones is not a good reason to despise the poor or lack empathy toward them.
In this story, Jesus took a moment to remember the poor. This Christmas, may we all take a moment to reflect on the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the less-privileged around us and in our community. The little we give makes a huge difference in the hearts of the receivers and in the hearts of the givers as well.
A book about how children learn empathy:https://www.amazon.com/Journey-Ezido-Lake-Story-Empathy/d...