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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Proverbs 14:21 Unplugged & Updated

When Jesus developed his preaching of compassion for the poor, there is no doubt he was acutely aware of piercing Old Testament scriptures such as Proverbs 14:21 which says, "Anyone who despises his neighbor commits sin. But blessed is the person who is kind to the poor."

Reflecting on Proverbs 14:21, an updated version would go something like this... Anyone that despises his poor neighbor such as to overlook him, is not friendly to him, ignores him or does not interact with him is adding to his neighbor’s poverty. Essentially we tend to “despise” the poor neighbor in our society because of his poverty, or because of his “pedigree” and lowly education. We despise him for the circumstances he is in; or on account of his weakness. Anyone who passively “despises” is sinning. In the Catholic faith it is called the sin of “omission.” In this case, we do not sin because of something we have done but in what we have failed to do. Sins of omission can be grave. The result of all sin is to become unhappy and miserable. But happy is the person who has mercy on the poor. He will not experience the psychological and eternal penalties of sin. They regard the poor in their low estate by helping them, having conversation with them and blessing them. Happy the one!

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