Christians looking to combat poverty and injustice should develop their own spirituality and try living among the poor to get a better understanding of the conditions these people live in, according to a leading academic.
“Many people around the world just don’t realize the kind of life marginalized people lead because they are subject to rampant materialism which makes them individualistic and selfish,” said Anton Meemana, professor of philosophical and religious perspectives in reconciliation and peace at La Salle university in the Philippines.
Many Christians in Sri Lanka are no different since their lifestyles are seducing them into to buying more and more,” said the academic, who is also a visiting lecturer at Sri Lanka’s University of Kelaniya.
He was speaking yesterday during the 13th Commemorative Lecture on Mother Teresa at Caritas Sri Lanka’s auditorium in Colombo.
He said by living with the poor, “we can learn from them how they feel about being deprived.”
“All human problems are spiritual problems and the solutions are also spiritual. Our society needs a deep spiritual foundation, not a materialistic one,” he told an audience of Christian priests, nuns and lay leaders.
“A truly religious person is a spiritual person, a just person, an authentic person. Each individual must try to live a just life with personal integrity and that can help forge a just society. We also need leaders with impeccable integrity. It is the responsibility of every Christian to be a blessing to others,” he continued.
Andrew Samaratunge, president of the Sri Lankan Movement for Justice, Peace and Reconciliation agreed with Professor Meemana’s comments, adding: “Poverty and injustice in this country are linked. The majority of affluent people are indifferent to the suffering of the poor and the marginalized.”
Christians as a whole, not just Church leaders, must examine their conscience with regard to their obligations to ensuring justice for the poor and the marginalized, he said.