Every day, countless times without even giving it a second thought, we come across the letters WWW or world wide web. We see it on advertising, hear it on the radio, see it on trucks and lorries and license plates in traffic, and it has become an indispensable aspect of communications, finance, networking with friends and how we do business.
Today’s Gospel is also about WWW, but of a different kind altogether. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus provides us with a startling unjust situation and one that provokes our consciences. The three W words being referred to are Wealth, Waste and Want. These 3 W words are always with us.
It may be hard to believe but we are a wealthy country – overall. We have a ranking of 15th at least in world rank, but I am not really sure how the system works. We have our share of billionaires and millionaires. The question is what we do with our wealth, how to invest it properly and provide for loved ones. The danger for all of us is how we readily rationalize our spending on luxuries and comforts without distinguishing needs from wants.
The second W word is waste, and this is a sin of wealthy countries. But we all need to watch out for this one as individuals too – reckless, extravagant spending without moral reference has got our country into a heap of trouble. But even on a domestic scale we are told that 25% of our perishables end up in the bin. We can remedy that by better management in the kitchen. In fairness many businesses admirably do provide for the poor with their leftover food.
Waste has led to the third W of want.
The parable is an indictment of global proportions – of the wealthy First World’s crazy spiral of waste on arms and saving financial institutions and the spectacle of the poverty of millions searching through bins in alleyways. The parable reminds us that there is a final reckoning. We are to pay for the measure of our neglect, indifference and carelessness.
When making my tax return what % goes to charities – can I increase it?
Have I made my will and if so have I consulted someone close to me to ensure it is equitable?
There is accountability for our stewardship of the world’s resources and our property which we can’t take with us anyway.
Finally, we can counter the three Ws with the 3 As – or Triple A, in the spirit of the Serenity Prayer.
Lord, grant me a sense of Appreciation for the things of this world that I have,
A sense of Awareness of the things of the world that others lack
And a real spirit of Almsgiving to help make up the difference.