By Rev Fr John Damian Adizie, OCD
Poverty remains a perennial problem. Our Lord Jesus Christ declares: “You will always have the poor among you” (Matthew 26:11). The World Poverty according to Brookings Institute, more than 643 million people across the world live in extreme poverty, with Africans accounting for about two-thirds of the total number.
It was estimated that 87 million Nigerians live in ex-treme poverty. The gap between the rich and the poor keep widening as the rich are becoming richer while the poor are getting poorer.
To bridge the gap bet-ween the rich and the poor, the United Nations General Assembly has dedicated October 17 as Internation-al Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The theme of 2018 International Day for the Eradication of poverty is “Coming together with those furthest behind to build an inclusive world of universal respect for hum-an rights and dignity”
The poor are the ones that are considered to be fur-ther behind. Any form of discrimination against the poor is an attack against one’s fundam-ental human ri-ght. Incidentally, this year is the 70th anniversary of the declarat-ion of the Human Rights.
One of the ways to build an inclu-sive world is to raise the stand-ard of education, especially in pu-blic schools, to a level wh-ere children of the rich can find public school attract-ive. The fees of Missionary and private schools sh-ould be reduced to an aff-ordable prize where child-ren of the poor can easily access. There should be equal and affordable job opportunities. People should not pay dearly before obtaining jobs. We should also avoid all forms of politics of mon-ey. The poor and the rich should have eqaul opp-ortunity in politics and leadership.
Debt cancellation is ano-ther way of eradicating po-verty. According to Psalm 15:5 the only one that is worthy to dwell in God’s temple is one “who does not put out his money at interest, and does not ta-ke bribe against the inno-cent” Surah 2:262 of the Muslim Qur’an declar-es, “Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders (of it) or (other) injury will have their reward with the Lord, and there will be no fear con-cerning them, nor will they grieve.” With this, Money lenders have a vital role to play in poverty eradica-tion.
Almsgiving is a surest way to eradicate poverty. St. John declares, “Rich peo-ple who see a brother or sister in need, yet close their hearts against them, cannot claim that they love God” (1 John 3:17). According to St. Paul, “God loves a ch-eerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Child of God, we all have a role to play in poverty eradication. As you remember the poor, God will surely remember you and it shall be well with you in Jesus name – Amen!