The Perspective of Justice

Feeding the Hungry

The prophet Elisha fed a hundred people with twenty barley loaves, and there were leftovers. Jesus fed about five thousand with five barley loaves and a couple of dried fish, and there were leftovers. That is God’s desire for us: everyone should find food in abundance.

Today’s reality is different. Every three days more people die from malnutrition and disease than from the bombing of Hiroshima, and every year more people die from preventable hunger than died in the Holocaust, even though we grow enough grain in the world to provide every man, woman, and child with a satisfactory diet of 3000 calories.

The Second Reading from Ephesians tells us to “make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force.” The problem with the world is its fragmentation; it lacks unity and peace.

The problem is not with God’s providence, for God has provided us with enough food for everyone, and then some.

The problem is the divisions in the world that prevent food from getting to people or keep people away from the food.

God has given blessings to the world: if only we could learn to use those blessings for the benefit of all.

Since there are so many people in this world afflicted with hunger, this sacred Council urges all, both individuals and governments, to remember the saying of the Fathers: “Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him you have killed him.”

Vatican II, Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, 
1965: paragraph 69.

Gerald Darring
 

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson