Pope Benedict XVI begins His Encyclical Letter "Caritas in Veritate" by the challenging words:
"Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness by his earthly life, death and resurrection, is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity." (no 1)
Charity in truth, should be the principal driving force behind the authentic development.
Charity in truth and not greediness, charity in truth and not the success, charity in truth and not avarice and selfishness should be the only driving force of an authentic development. Without charity and truth there is no development, there is not a sincere and honest progress.
Preparing today's homily I read also the introduction to 17th Sunday liturgy from the "Living with Christ" booklet. What I found there are the following words:
"It's hard to believe, but the statistics are just as shocking as they are dreadful: in our day and age, some 800 million people still suffer from malnutrition or starvation. More than 35 thousands children die from hunger every day, when our society claims unparalleled living standards and unmatched technological sophistication." Why?
Pope in his Encyclical letter answers in a direct way:
"Life in many poor countries is still extremely insecure as a consequence of food shortages, and the situation could become worse: hunger still collects enormous numbers of victims among those who, like Lazarus, are not permitted to take their place at the rich man's table, ..." (no 27)
And this is due to the fact that we won't like to understand that we are lacking in our daily life "charity in truth".
In today's psalm we read:
"All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord
And all your faithful shall bless you ...
You open your hand satisfying all our needs"
Yes all our needs are satisfied but we are constantly unhappy and unsatisfied, greedy and disappointed, because we are lacking truth.
When the man bringing the food to Elisha (in the first reading today) objects: "we have not enough food for a hundred people to feed them", Elisha repeated his order: "Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord".
When Andrew and Simon Peter in today's Gospel complain: "we have only five loaves and two fish but what are they for so many people?" Jesus repeats His order: "Make the people sit down and give them to eat."
Are we not in the similar position? Do we not complain constantly that we do not have enough? Are not rather lacking charity in truth? Charity toward those who less fortunate than we and truth about our own wealth and prosperity?
From today's readings we learn that God is a life-giving God, who cares for hungering and poor crowds. And when God gives, He always gives over-abundantly. Prophet Elisha and Jesus the Son Of God show us that God always provides more than we need, for He wants us to share our goods with all His children. We, who are privileged to have all the food we need and more, can make a difference by sharing what we have.
And this is what Pope Benedict XVI says in his Encyclical letter:
"The reality of human solidarity, which is a benefit for us, also imposes a duty. Many people today would claim that they owe nothing to anyone, except to themselves. They are concerned only with their rights, and they often have great difficulty in taking responsibility for their own and other people's integral development.
Nowadays we are witnessing a grave inconsistency. On the one hand, appeals are made to so-called rights, arbitrary and non-essential in nature, accompanied by the demand that they be recognized and promoted by public structures, while, on the other hand, elementary and basic human rights remain neglected and are violated in much of the world. ... Claims to a “right to excess”, and even to transgression and vice, within affluent societies, are in a scandalous contrast to the lack of food, drinkable water, basic instruction and elementary health care in areas of the underdeveloped world and on the outskirts of large metropolitan centres." (no 43).