I recently read about how, for many decades, children have been caught up in what is called “the cycle of poverty”. “Cycle” because it means an unending circle. The cycle of poverty has many aspects to it – those who drop out of school usually become part of statistics that speak of being trapped again in poverty. The lack of clean water in some parts of the world is another cycle. Drug and alcohol addiction is another cycle that leads to poverty, prison, death. We simply go around and around with an eternal return to the same place we started.
The question becomes, how do we break the cycle? How do we help victimized single mothers escape the fate of producing children who will fall into the same trap? How do we educate the children of coal miners in Pennsylvania so that they are not kept to the same fate as their unemployed parents?
These are all questions that need to be addressed if the inhuman conditions of this world are to be changed and the enslaving cycles of poverty, illiteracy, starvation, disease, violence and death are to be broken. Hand in hand with this are the cycles of racism, discrimination and, of course, climate change.
Progress is being made slowly, and one of the ways how we, as a faith community, can make a difference is by breaking the cycle of cynicism and apathy and by being the light of the world and the salt of the earth.