CEBU, Philippines - “Poverty is not inevitable. Rather, it is due to human failures.”
This was the message of His Eminence John Cardinal Oaniyekan of Nigeria during his talk on “The Eucharist: Dialogie with the poor and the suffering” yesterday for the ongoing International Eucharistic Congress.
“God has provided enough resources for the needs of all of us. It is our responsibility that everyone receives his/her own due so that we all might live in dignity,” he said.
This, however, is not the case.
Oaniyekan said there continues to be a “bad distribution of Earth’s goods because of injustice and greed” and the gap between the rich and the poor continues to grow.
“This makes the misery of the poor more acute and unbearable, as they live side by side with those who live in affluence or see the high living standards of the affluent in the mass media as unattainable utopia,” he said.
Oaniyekan said this is where the Eucharist becomes “immediately relevant” as the Eucharist stresses the goodness of God who gives himself to humanity.
“The Eucharist is the clear expression of His love for all His creatures. Therefore, it is a source of encouragement to the poor to know that God is good and takes care of His own,” he said.
Even with these realities, Oaniyekan said there is no reason not to be grateful.
He said that among the different kinds of poverty – material, spiritual, and social, the first kind that needs to be addressed first is material poverty because it has become an inhuman standard of living.
He said suffering is very much part of human life.
“Whether you believe in Jesus or not, whether you share the Eucharist or not, most people will have their share of human suffering. The good news is that Jesus carrying our burden of suffering gives meaning and purpose to whatever suffering we may be carrying especially for His own sake,” Oaniyekan said. (FREEMAN)