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Puerto Rico and the Call to Social Justice

by Carmen Julia Rodriguez

In one part, the Bible reads: “Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.”  (Matthew 25:27)

Yet in another part, we read: “ If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.” (Leviticus 25:35-37)

How could we reconcile these contradictory mandates? By listening to the Call for Social Justice.

This is - in a nut shell - the case in Puerto Rico

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico reads: “(ii) any amounts paid by the Commonwealth in the fiscal year next preceding the then current fiscal year for principal or interest on account of any outstanding obligations evidenced by bonds or notes guaranteed by the Commonwealth, shall not exceed 15% of the average of the total amount of the annual revenues raised under the provisions of Commonwealth legislation and covered into the Treasury of Puerto Rico in the two fiscal years next preceding the then current fiscal year…Yet, the islanders find themselves burdened by an unpayable debt of over one hundred billions dollars – that is a 1 followed by 11 zeroes.

How did it happen? By disregarding the Call for Social Justice.

What exactly does the Bible say about Social Justice? In one part it reads: “Don’t take advantage of the poor just because you can; don’t take advantage of those who stand helpless in court. The Lord will argue their case for them and threaten the life of anyone who threatens theirs.  (Proverbs22:23)

God sent His only Son to do just that… and still we have not learned the lesson.

In my humble opinion, this is the lesson: do your best to increase your talents, but without taking unfair advantage orf the other for profit. God has done plenty to help all of us. He created each and everyone of us with unique talents and a purpose. It is to each and everyone of us to – as President Abraham Lincoln once said – “care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”  President Lincoln was talking about the veterans of the US Civil War. Yet I would dare to say he was talking about each and every citizen of the United States of America. Those who wage the War as well as those who wage the Peace… the latter by far a more demanding task than the former.

We Boricuas, will survive this misfortune, as we have survived all the others misfortunes throughout our 500 hundred years of collective history, by invoking the name of our protector - La Virgen Madre de la Divina Providencia.noviembre/ I just paid a visit to our Virgin Patron at her Shrine in the Old City of San Juan and prayed one more time that She may advocate our case - as only She can - and once more save us from the pirates threatening ourshores. Amen.

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