Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 30, 2005
Your alliances speak your truth
How many times in your life have you used the word alliance?
Perhaps not that much, unless your life revolves around competition and you have a constant drive for winning.
But if you have been watching reality television lately, especially, Survivor - a show that puts people in a remote island and tests who would outlast, outwit and outplay everyone - you probably heard that word a lot of times.
And if you have been watching what's happening in the Canadian political scene lately, it has been more apparent Canadian politics has become about alliances.
And it is not just about making alliances but breaking them as well.
Weeks before the budget was voted on by the House of Commons, NDP leader Jack Layton made an alliance with the Liberals to pass the federal budget. The
Conservatives then aligned themselves with Bloc Quebecois to topple the government.
In the days leading to the crucial May 19 vote in the House, Conservative MP Belinda Stronach crossed the floor and joined the Liberals saying that she is not comfortable with the Conservative's alliance with the Bloc.
Who are they making alliances with and why?
When you think about it, the ones who really need alliances in Canada and other parts of the world remain with no or few allies: the poor.
Are any of our leaders interested in making alliances with the powerless of this country?
When you listen to politicians' speeches, you really have to search for a firm commitment to alleviate poverty in Canada. Layton speaks about homelessness. In fact that's how he got the Liberals to change the budget so there would be something for the thousands of homeless.
But is he really concerned about them? Perhaps he is, but we still need to see how far he is willing to be the voice of the poor and homeless.
What about us? With whom are we aligning ourselves?
If we truly understand the biblical word translated as "compassion," it means to "suffer with." All of us, in some way, are "poor."
To have a genuine concern for the poor means to be willing to "suffer with" the poor. After all, we believe that God showed his concern for us by choosing to "suffer with" the entire human race.
As Christians, we are called to live out what the Catholic Church calls a "preferential option" for the poor and disadvantaged.
We must have a special concern for the hungry, the poor, the old, the sick and those who have no family.
While institutions like governments are called upon to practise subsidiarity, all of us are called to be in solidarity with the poor.
Subsidiarity is the principle to which a "community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good" (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus).
If we are to put solidarity in plain words, it would mean to be in alliance with the poor, recognizing our call as followers of Jesus to identify with those most in need.
We might not win any prize in this world if we align ourselves with those in most need, but we surely have a great opportunity to learn and practise justice and charity.
So who are you making alliances with lately?
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