Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 24, 2000
God calls us to share wealth - prof
By By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
Wealth comes in many forms. There is wealth in education. Wealth of health. And the wealth which we count in dollars and cents.
These are the wealths that the rich have and the poor don't.
"The interesting thing about wealth is that you either have a lot of it or none of it," said Rebecca Davis-Mathias.
Davis-Mathias spoke to a crowd of 50 people Jan. 18 at Newman Theological College on the redistribution of the world's wealth.
Davis-Mathias, a bioethics instructor at Newman and St. Joseph's University College, traces the call of God for his people to care for one another - the sick, the suffering and especially the poor.
She looks at the Old Testament to drive home the need to have a more even distribution of wealth.
"God has chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith," she said. "My grandmother used to tell me that everything you give away, it's always given back to you. You always get it back in some other way
"The more you give away, the more you receive. That's very paradoxical. If you give it all away, what do you have left? But if you give it away, the more you will have."
This doesn't mean that we should give up all our worldly possessions to have true faith, but we need to re-evaluate the wealth we have and sympathize with those who do not have any.
The discrepancy in wealth is not only between Western and Third World countries, but also the haves and have nots in our own city where adequate low-income housing is in high demand and the need for food banks and drop-in shelters skyrocket every year.
Davis-Mathias' presentation is the third in a series of Jubilee 2000 talks on social issues at the college.
She supported efforts to lobby the federal government to forgive the debts of the world's poorest countries.
"These (developing)countries are asking themselves, 'How can we pay you back when we can't even afford education and health care for our own people?'" Davis-Mathias said. "At what cost do we want these debts paid back. That is the basic question we have to ask."
Relieving the debt of Third World countries is not an overnight task, admits Davis-Mathias, but it can be done.
"My grandmother said you can eat an elephant, if you eat one bite at a time," Davis-Mathias said. "So you can relieve the debt (of developing countries) if you do it one country at a time."
Solving the wealth issue is not a matter of throwing bags of cash onto the doorsteps of developing countries such as Peru and Zaire. The majority of money poured into those countries is often misused by its politicians to boost governmental quality of life or increase military spending, she said.
Davis-Mathias encourages Christians to adopt the lifestyle God has called us to -one of selflessness and care for each other.