Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

800 Million Are Hungry...

In one of his Angelus addresses last November, Pope Benedict spoke about the crisis of world hunger. Astoundingly, over 800 million people go hungry and suffer from malnutrition. Adults and children are dying of hunger. To address this tragedy, Benedict XVI stressed the need "to eliminate the structural causes linked to the system of government of the world economy, which allocates the greater part of the planet's resources to a minority of the population."

It comes down to the fact that, relatively speaking, a few have much while many have little and not even enough to sustain life. This tragedy is even more egregious when we realize the tons of waste in our society: the waste of food, the waste of clothing, the waste of equipment, and the waste of natural resources. The Pope sees and we see this as a great injustice. He said that there needs to be a change of attitude towards the use of resources on a world wide scale. Moreover, he indicated, as previous Popes have, that everyone has the responsibility to do something to alleviate hunger in the world.

Those of us who went to Catholic elementary school a few decades ago may remember “Mite Boxes” during Lent. We children would give up candy or something else each day from Ash Wednesday to Holy Week. The pennies that we saved as a result would go into our own individual cardboard boxes called “mite” (a mite was a small coin used during Jesus’ time). All of our Mite Boxes were collected before the Easter vacation. I am sure that at that time every Catholic school was able to send hundreds of dollars to the missions in order to feed the poor. We can do the same today by making little sacrifices; we can send the money that we would have spent on a dessert, drink, movie, etc. to a charity like Catholic Relief Services.

Pope Benedict concluded his address with: "Jesus taught his disciples to pray, asking the heavenly Father not for 'my' but for 'our' daily bread. Thus he wanted every man to feel co-responsible for his brothers, so that no one would be without what is necessary to live."

Fr. Stanley