Friday, February 28, 2014

No to the idolatry of money

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
March 2, 2014

Matthew 6:24-34

For Jesus, money, made into an absolute idol, is the greatest enemy of the more decent, just, and solidary world God wants. It's been twenty centuries since the Prophet from Galilee roundly denounced that the worship of money would always be the biggest obstacle to advancing towards a more humane coexistence humankind would meet.

Jesus' logic is overwhelming: "You can not serve God and money." God can not rule the world and be the Father of all without demanding justice for those who are excluded from a decent life. Therefore, those are dominated by the desire to accumulate wealth can not work for the more humane world wished for by God. They are promoting an economy that excludes the weakest and abandons them in hunger and misery.

What's happening with Pope Francis is surprising. While the mass media and social networks around the Internet are informing us with all sorts of details about the smallest gestures of his admirable personality, his most urgent cry to all humankind -- "No to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills." -- is being shamefully concealed.

However, Francis doesn't need extensive arguments or deep analyses to explain his thinking. He knows how to sum up his outrage in clear expressive words that could lead off any newscast or be the newspaper headline in any country. Just a few examples.

"It cannot be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two point. This is a case of exclusion. We cannot stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving. This is a case of inequality."

We live under "the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose." As a result, "while the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few."

"The culture of well-being anesthetizes us and we lose our cool if the market is offering something that we haven't yet bought, while all those lives cut short due to lack of opportunities seem to be a spectacle that doesn't affect us in any way."

As he himself has said, "this message isn't Marxism but pure Gospel." A message that must be forever echoed in our Christian communities. The opposite could be a sign of what the Pope has said: "We are becoming incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor. We no longer weep for other people's pain."

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