January has been designated Poverty Awareness Month by a partnership of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It is part of their initiative against poverty. In recent years, they have provided a January calendar complete with links to articles and relevant videos that educate us about the rising surge of poverty in America. It also provides scriptural reflections that highlight how Christians are called to respond to the poor. If you have never seen this informative monthly calendar, I invite you to take a few minutes to view it here. In addition, you might also want to check out the CCHD/USCCB poverty website at www.povertyusa.org. Both the calendar and the website are excellent resources for information and gives tips about how we can help address the rising social crisis of poverty.
As I recently viewed the 2018 January calendar for Poverty Awareness Month, I was abruptly reminded of the alarming negative effects that the new tax laws will have on poor and middle income families while corporations receive tax cuts and the rich accumulate even more wealth. In a letter dated Nov. 9, 2017 and written by USCCB committees to House members about the tax bill, now signed into law, they stated that this bill is an example of “moral obscenity and unrepentant greed.” I certainly agree with them.
While addressing poverty in our nation and the world is important at all times, I view our current time as a moment of both moral and social crisis, but it is not a time without hope. Indeed, we have just finished celebrating the coming of the Light that forever pierces the darkness. There will always be those who will reflect the light of God which has been given to each of us. I have seen that light in the many people and organizations that have stood in protest to make their voices heard, their presence felt and their vote count.
The new tax laws and the politicized climate of our country today do not make it easy to address the critical issue of surging poverty. I realize that although the work of justice may be slow, it always moves forward because there will always be people in our human family who work for justice.
What about you? Are you called to work with the Dominican Sisters of Peace in the pursuit of justice?