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  A Christian Faith Magazine July 2005, Volume 10, Issue 12  
Our Brother's Keeper

Rev. Mark Connolly
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Many centuries ago Jesus Christ reminded us that we must be our brother's keeper. In other words, to help those who are more downtrodden and more unfortunate than ourselves. He gave us an example of the good Samaritan who was on a journey through life and saw upon the road a man who had practically been beaten to death. He brought that man to an inn, gave orders to the innkeeper to help him in any way he could and then he rode away into history. None of us ever think of ourselves as being a good Samaritan towards those who are in other parts of the world. We now hear constantly that about one billion people live below the starvation belt. Another billion are just eking out a living to try to keep their own bodies and the bodies of their families together. When you total it up, over 40% of the world practically goes to bed at night hungry.

If Jesus Christ were alive today and walking the journey that we are walking, He would single out these downtrodden and these impoverished people who are trying to live on a dollar a day just to survive. None of us can never underestimate the individual power that we have in correcting a social evil of this magnitude. Certainly, we can always pray for these poor unfortunate people. Certainly we can join campaigns that might direct more money to those who don't have enough to eat for that day. All of us are capable of doing something. If Jesus Christ is our role model that He is, then we have an obligation to be good Samaritans during the course of our lives towards the people whom we meet.

When you read the beautiful book The End of Poverty by Jeffrey D. Sachs, he remind us of the tremendous imbalance of resources between the haves and have nots. He singled out Asia and Africa having problems that can only be helped not only by world governments, but through individual effort. As much as we might criticize the United Nations, it is an organization that tries to help the millions of people in refuge camps. There is nothing preventing anyone reading this editorial from calling the UN or Catholic Relief Services to see if you can offer a helping hand. In places like Africa thousands die each day because of malaria, over 5,000 die each year, mothers and fathers, because of tuberculosis. This does not mention the tragic number who die of Aids every year.

When you think of the evils like Malaria, TB and Aids which really destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, you have to think that there is another evil and that is the evil of apathy. We cannot sit back and read editorial after editorial or hear television commentary after commentary without recognizing we have a moral directive from Jesus Christ to be the good Samaritans to those people who are dying in these impoverished conditions. Jesus Christ said it very clearly, whatever you do for these the least of my brethren, you do it for Me. Wherever two or three are gathered in My name, there are am I in the midst of them. Yes, our obligation is to take care of our family, but there are other families in need of our help. All of us know how difficult it is to change our lifestyle, however, that should never prevent us from reaching out to the starving masses throughout the world. It is not just a duty, it is not just an obligation, it is our way of answering the question who is my brother. That brother whom you help, whom you don't know, will explain to almighty God how you brought the Gospel to him.


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