After Jesus emerges from his fasting he spends a great portion of his ministry afflicting the “haves” and comforting the “have nots”. He seems to have no use for an economic system that allows greedy “tax” collectors, for example, to prey upon the most fragile. This focal point of Jesus’s ministry cannot be ignored during one’s Lenten journey . . .or after.
For the Christian, and non-Christian, poverty is a moral issue. It’s sinful no matter how we look at as it is created and perpetuated by humans.
Decades ago the United States declared a “war on poverty”. Here is what Stringfellow had to say at the time on the matter:
. . .a war on poverty has been declared, but as of now, it seems more an appeasement of the conscience of the prosperous than empathy for the sufferings of the poor. Poverty cannot be undone in America by appropriating a nickel where five dollars is required.” William Stringfellow, Dissenter in a Great Society.
Stringfellow’s could have easily been written in 2015. Everyone, Christians included, as Stringfellow later explains, are part of the political process whether we want to be or not, Poverty is not only a moral crisis, but it is also a political one: it is sinful and it is a matter of life and death for those who live it day in and day out.
For us Christians in the United States, as part of the church and part of the political process, there really isn’t any question as to how we are called to act upon the matter.