There are many facets of inequality in human life which are pointed out with statements that begin with the words, “We can put a man on the moon, but ....”I note this to You because whatever is tacked on to the end of that statement is meant to show something in our “advanced” society that we should be able to do. A lot of the endings added to this beginning have to do with sickness and poverty.
Poverty in particular seems to be an inequality that should not exist in such a wealthy and scientifically adept nation. We give money and volunteer time to help “the poor,” but we always seem to have the poor with us. The reason is because anyone who is better off than someone else probably tends to regard them as poor. But I wonder if the people whom we regard as poor regard themselves that way. If the subject of being poor is thoughtfully considered it will be discovered that it has to do with not possessing certain things possessed by others. But what of those who don’t have these possessions who still don’t regard themselves as poor?
Meeting what one might consider the needs of the poor usually has to do with exterior things we see that others may be lacking: food, clothes, shelter, money. But some, lacking one, two or even all of these might not regard themselves as poor; and, if they don’t, where is the inequality? It would appear it’s only in our perception. Where, then, is the inequality we seek to remedy?
What I’m thinking is that true poverty, the poverty of genuine inequity, the poverty that needs to be addressed even more than exterior needs is the interior poverty of spiritual emptiness. We gasp in awe at the brain power necessary to send men to outer space; but it seems somehow too difficult to touch a man’s inner space. That’s inequality! St. Luke (11:41) records Your words about such matters: “Give for alms those things that are within.”