The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
Read Chapter 22
Augustine of Hippo
The rich and the poor meet together. In what way, except in this present life? The rich and the poor are born alike. You meet one another as you walk along the way together. The poor must not defraud the rich; the rich must not oppress the poor. The one has need, the other has plenty, but “the Lord is the maker of them both.” The Lord helps the one in need by the one who has; by the one who has not the Lord tests the one who has. ()..
“The poor man and the rich have met each other.” Where have they met each other? In this life. This one was born, that one was born, their lives were crossed, they have met each other. And who made them? The Lord. The rich man, to help the poor; the poor man, to test the rich.
Both of you are traveling the same road; you are companions on the journey. Lightly laden are the poor man’s shoulders, but yours are burdened with heavy luggage. Give away some of the load that is weighing you down; give away some of your luggage to the needy man—and you will thus afford relief both to yourself and to your companion. The Scripture says, “The rich and the poor have met one another, but the Lord has made them both.” Where have they met, except in this life? The one is now arrayed in costly garments, while the other is clad in rags. When did they meet? Both were born naked, and even the rich man was born poor. Let him disregard what he found when he had come; let him consider what he brought with him.
I beseech you, beloved brethren, be eager to engage in divine reading whatever hours you can. Moreover, since what a person procures in this life by reading or good works will be the food of his soul forever, let no one try to excuse himself by saying he has not learned letters at all. If those who are illiterate love God in truth, they look for learned people who can read the sacred Scriptures to them. This even illiterate merchants have learned to do, for they hire literate mercenaries and through their reading or writing acquire great profits. Now, if people do this for earthly wealth, how much more should we do it for the sake of eternal life? It often happens that a learned person may be poor in food or clothing, while one who does not know letters has more abundant wealth. The illiterate person who abounds in earthly goods summons the poor learned one, and they mutually give each other what they need. The one by reading feeds the other with the sweet word of God, while the other ...
Another. They stand in need of one another. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xxxiv. in 1 Corinthians.)
They are equal in God's sight, who only values real virtue. He disposes of riches, so that the poor may one day become rich. (Calmet)