According to Sirach in the Old Testament, "life's prime needs are water, bread, and clothing, a house, too, for decent privacy" (Sir 29:21). The New Testament may indicate that the basic needs of human beings have been reduced by Jesus' coming (see Lk 9:58), for "if we have food and clothing we have all that we need" (1 Tm 6:8). Basic needs, according to the Bible, are very different from what most people today call basic needs. Today, in industrialized countries, transportation (like a car) and entertainment (a TV) are considered basic needs. Even the poor expect to eat more than bread and water. And items such as meat, sugar, and coffee are considered as the barest necessities?
Even if we don't think the Lord wants us to take literally these Biblical passages, He is at the least commanding us to drastically simplify our lives, to reappraise as loss those things we used to consider gain (Phil 3:7). "The world with its seductions is passing away but the man who does God's will endures forever" (1 Jn 2:17). The Lord is calling us to "have no love for the world, nor the things that the world affords" (1 Jn 2:15).
Pope John Paul II has warned us: "We need to turn to a more austere way of life...I therefore exhort the disciples of Christ and all Christian communities — from families to dioceses, from parishes to religious institutes — to carry out a sincere review of their lives regarding their solidarity with the poor" (Mission of the Redeemer, 59, 60).
In love for Jesus, let's be among the first in our society to align our ways of living with the truth of God's word.