Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword  -  Equality
"All animals are equal! But some are more equal than others", the original words of George Orwell frequently misquoted as "All people etc. The American Declaration of Independence makes a similar statement -"that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable  rights".  The first and third readings today confirm this view, while Paul recognises the generosity of the Thessalonians to other communities experiencing hard times.

Exodus 22:22-26:  Emphasizes the rights that people had under the Mosaic Law.

Thessalonians:  1:5-10:  Here Paul gives thanks that the Thessalonians have responded to the teaching  he has passed on to them in the name of Christ, and that they have become examples for other people.

Mathew 22:34-40:  Jesus produces a revolutionary conclusion with his linking of two passages of the Mosaic law  -  there can be no love of God without love of neighbour.

Point 1: History    consistently has shown people to be divided between those who have and those who have not! Revolutions have always directed themselves to bettering existing conditions to make people more equal. Regularly they employ the catch cry "Freedom" - to be free from want, to be free from exploitation, political or economic and so on.  Classical examples come easily to mind  -  the American Revolution, the American Civil War, the French Revolution with its cry of "Egalite, Liberte, Fraternite", the not so successful Russian revolution.  All of these struggles can be seen as  extensions of the great revolution unleashed by Christ's teaching that all people have equal rights in that they share a common fatherhood in God.  The impact of that concept has not been fully grasped.  There are encouraging signs, however, that some recognition is being fostered as the wealthy nations of the world seek to adjust the imbalance that has resulted from centuries of exploitation on the one side and graft, corruption and incompetence on the other.

Point 2:  The problem of economic inequality is immense; but not so immense that it cannot be helped by a Christian social conscience.  The world wide response to recent catastrophic natural disasters is a definite recognition that the spirit of the Good Samaritan is still present.  It also makes a statement that the need to share is greater than a person's need to receive. Inequality exists independently of disaster. A recognition that advantage implies responsibility is a first step to solving the problem of inequality.  The idea is not that all people will be reduced to equality - a pipe dream exploded by the Soviet experiment - but that excessive inequality should be eradicated.  As products of a Christian culture, we need to involve ourselves in this effort.  It is very easy to exonerate ourselves with facile arguments like "Some corrupt official will squander my contribution..."  The real value for me is that I do something!Of course, it is recognised that 'charity' is not the complete solution; that God helps those who help themselves!  meaning mindsets must change in those who are being helped.

Conclusion: This need to share in order to grow fruitfully is wonderfully illustrated by nature.  For example, one of many, in Israel they have the Sea of Galilee, a wonderfully productive area because the waters which flow into it from the nearby mountains, pass through to the nearby fields.  Sixty miles south, we have the Dead Sea, fed by the same waters, yet the centre of a wasteland.  The Dead Sea has not outlet.  Our local problem of salinity is partly due to this practice of not putting back in.  The scenario given to us of the Last Judgment provides us with a very clear vision of how our lives will be judged if we do not share.

Scriptural reference:  "Anyone who says 'I Love God' and disregards his neighbour is a liar; since the man who does not concern himself with his neighbour whom he can see, cannot love God whom he cannot see".