I would like to begin with a Bible verse:
Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And when we had come to him, he said to him: Two men were in one city: one wealthy, and the other poor…
2 Samuel 12:1-4
Since then, thousands of years ago, the gap between the poor and the rich has existed in society. A gap is the unfilled space or hole between two objects.
Poverty to me is the insuﬀiciency or lack of money to live at a normal or comfortable standard, whereas, wealth is having a great deal of money or assets and abundance in all aspects of life.
Based on my personal experience and the reality here in the FCJ Center, Bagong Silangan, Philippines, where I am working, people who are living in the peripheral and slum areas are really poor. They are deprived of access to good quality health facilities, clean water, education, good conditions of housing and clothing. Most of all they are people who only eat once or twice a day or sometimes are unable to eat even once a day. They are unable to access basic needs due to lack of education and confidence to approach people with a higher level of education or in a position of authority. Most poor people depend only on God in their daily lives. Poor people have great faith in God and it’s the reason why they survive in their everyday life. In terms of justice, poor people have no capacity to defend their rights. But often poor people are most blessed because they are people who are content and satisfied with whatever they have. In short, they are not greedy.
On the other hand, wealthy people have plenty of money and they have every access to all they need. Usually rich people are better educated, have a lot of courage and confidence to fight for their rights and to obtain what they want. What I experience is that rich people are usually unaware of the lives of poor people. For example, they might own plenty of land but they are unwilling to give even a very small lot to people with nothing. They often hold positions of great power in society and use it to oppress poor people.
As a Companion in Mission I am committed to doing what I can to close the gap between the poor and the rich. My work is mainly with mothers of families and I believe that they can be powerful agents of change in society.
I oﬀer skills training to mothers to enable them to generate additional income for their families. I also teach them household budgeting to help them identify their needs and wants and to encourage them to save. There is a cooperative with 131 members, mostly mothers of families. This is one way in which women can become independent and grow as a way of empowering women.
In summary, every day as I observe, the gap between the poor and the rich widens especially in the economic aspect. Many rich people seem content to let this gap continue. There are people who try to lessen the gap, but they are few. However, when we read the Scriptures we see that poor people are blessed for the Kingdom of God is with them. They manifest the characteristics of simplicity, contentment and humility and I see the Reign of God in them. Even in times of suﬀering and darkness poor people are very resilient. You can see in their eyes and faces joy, happiness and gratitude for their everyday life. Let us continue to hope and work for a more just and equal world.