Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Justice of Humanity

In a discussion with some friends on Sunday, we pondered the meaning of the word "poor." We were talking about Jesus and how he hoped to bring good news to those "poor" people. For me, my interpretation of poor is very limited to homeless people or those in the slums. But a few insightful ladies talked about being poor as a fact of someone who is suffering, or someone who is lonely, or a woman who couldn't have children (back in Jesus time, barren women were seen in a bad light, as if God cursed their womb). For the Pharisees, someone who was "poor" was probably someone who wasn't morally in line with them (aka: sinners), like tax collectors or prostitutes.

Several times in the Gospel of Luke Jesus is eating and partying with these "poor" people. Not only that, he treated them as equals. He saw them for who they were, human beings. We challenged each other to treat all we meet as a human being created in the Divine's image.

So it hurts when I read this editorial in the NY Times this morning. Our military, who we seem to praise and pray for courage and strength, don't treat these precious Iraqi citizens as human beings, but as worthless scum. Especially when a sergeant kills unarmed Iraqi who are detainted in a fenced in area for the reason of throwing rocks at his buddy. The sergeant's response:
"Well, I saw them bloody my buddy's nose, so I knelt down. I said a prayer. I
stood up, and I shot them down."

Granted this (hopefully) doesn't happen all the time, but this war, like all war, has shown the ugly side of the human condition. But like these soliders, I have failed to be good to the "poor" as well. Have mercy on us Lord.