for Sunday, September 23, 2007
We are all familiar with the dramatic crimes involving robberies and shootouts on our streets by "gangsters" and "thugs". But far more money is disappearing immorally and illegally - in plush air-conditioned offices by oh-so-respectable "smoothies" wearing expensive suits and driving luxury cars. Such an abuse of money and property results in serious imbalances in societies everywhere.
The world is divided now into rich and poor: between a First and a Third World. So many are driven to get rich. ”What's wrong with being rich?” people ask. Catholics can be, and sometimes are, very rich. But, by definition, no one can really become rich without others being made or kept poor. To be defined as rich in our society means having more, much more, than the average person. We cannot say we love God, if we do not love our brothers. Such a person cannot be in the Kingdom. In so far as economic matters affect moral issues such as: justice, the dignity, basic human rights - then they certainly concern the Christian and the church community. To ignore it, actively or passively, is to deny love to others.
People have always lived in poverty; can it then be accepted as "normal" that others live in comfort and luxury, especially when the source of their wealth comes from the exploitation of those who are living below the level of human dignity? No Christian can accept such a situation or, still less, be a contributor to such imbalances.
Unfortunately, many of us are, wittingly or unwittingly, contributors. We show it by our own frenetic participation in trying to climb to the top. It is not a question, of course, of advocating total equality. On many levels, people are quite unequal. But, on the level of dignity and rights, no one can claim superiority over another person.
Christians cannot tolerate any diminution of human dignity. Some have been given more than others clearly, but these gifts are to be used not to get more for oneself but to offer more for the building up of the Kingdom community. The more we have the greater our responsibility to share with those who don’t.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: