In the last entry, I talk in general terms about the tremendous disparity between most Americans and most people in the Third World. Today at the drop-in center my family volunteers at in Cleveland, I came across a New York Times Magazine with much more specifics about the chasm I alluded to. The story was about immigration and how some 200 million people now immigrate worldwide, mostly because of the abject poverty they live in. The story focused on Emmet Comodas, 36, who was orphaned at age eight, lived on the streets of Manila in the Phillipines, went on to have a family of five children and eventually “hustled” a job at a government sports complex, making $50 a month — not enough to keep his family fed. One of his daughters had an extremely frail physique and a congenital heart defect. And they all live in a “one-room, scrap-wood shanty in a warren of alleys and stinking canals, hidden by the whtewashed walls of an Imelda Marcos beautification campaign,” according to the article. To feed his family, Emmet eventually took a job in Saudia Arabia cleaning pools, 4,500 miles away. He was gone two years the first time, before he was able to get back to see his children. After three months he went back. In all, he was gone almost two decades, for the most part. The children were “deprived of their father while sustained by his wages,” said the article… Ok all you ‘faith-filled,’ American Dads and Moms with kids out there in suburban land — think about that! You could have helped Emmet stay home with his children — but the wide screen TV was more important, the new (or used) car with the extra options was more important, the vacation in Florida was more important, the new furniture was more important, the new coat was more important, the snow blower (vs. the shovel) was more important, the dinner at Bob Evans was more important… Oh sure, we’ve given some money to the poor — but it’s been so woefully short in relation to how much we really could give. Some of us even talk a good game, throwing around such termininology as “preferential option for the poor,” and “helping those less fortunate.” But ask us to really sacrifice? To do without some of our comfort, like air conditioning so kids don’t starve to death? The fact is, we have become so absolutely addicted to our comfort in this country (in the face of so much worldwide relievable suffering), that it’s a spiritual sickness of the nth degree. A spiritual sickness that could have major eternal consequences for us. You’re just not going to hear that much from the American pulpit (although the Bible’s pretty clear on it), because the priest or minister is probably preparing the sermon in his/her air conditioned study. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.