By Neilan D’souza
Poverty by definition means – the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support. If we go by that definition it means that we are poor because we do not have enough money, goods or means of support to live or survive. (Poverty due to lack of resources or lack of access to resources).
If we have to understand poverty from Christianity point of view, the first few things that come to our minds is that Jesus lived and spent time among the poor people and emphasised that we serve the poor. We have to be generous and give to those who are have not. We have see this in many parables like the Widow woman who put two very small copper coins into the temple treasury; The parable of the Good Samaritan who takes care of the injured man and brought him to an inn.
But it is also interesting that there have been a variety of Christian views on poverty and wealth. At one end of the spectrum is a view which casts wealth and materialism as an evil to be avoided and even combated. At the other end is a view which casts prosperity and well-being as a blessing from God.
Now, how do we understand poverty? Is it right to define poverty just by the resources we have or not? What about the distribution of resources then? Resources and Services are abundant in this Industrialised world. We could see it even during the pandemic that shortages of Covid-19 Vaccines in Asia was not because there was a shortage in production but it was because of the distribution process (First to be supplied to Western Countries and then to South Asian and East Asian Countries, esp. in the context of India).
Despite the many definitions, one thing is certain; Poverty is a complex societal issue. No matter how poverty is defined, it can be agreed that it is an issue that requires everyone’s attention. It is important that all members of our society, including religious institutions like the Church work together to provide the opportunities for all to reach their full potential. It helps all of us to help one another!*