Camels Have It Easy

JMJ

It is better to just say it and get it out of the way. Money is the root of all evil. Not “love” of money, but money. Money has become an idol. The mantra of the modern capitalist world: “God is for salvation. Money is for everything else.”

Jesus calls us to Radical Discipleship.

How sad it is when priests water down the message of Jesus. Jesus says: “If you will be perfect, sell all you have and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, then come, follow me.” What about this is not clear? I have heard priests split hairs and say it is “the baggage in our lives”, or those things to which we are attached, like “cell pones, social media, television, this, that, and the other thing”. They go on to say, “it is really about being ‘good stewards'”. And then there is Jesus saying: “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle  than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God” (not some gate and camels being full- packed, blah, blah, blah). What is not clear? Unless, of course, you are of the mind that God is for salvation and money for everything else. Can one live money for everything else and call oneself Christian?

Jesus had no concern for money. He did not like it. Never does it say He even handled it except perhaps when questioned about paying taxes to the Romans when He said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Here the implication is clear. What is of this world belongs to this world. What is of God belongs to God. Thus we may ask: “Are you of this world or are you of God?” This is where money and what is of God part ways.

Let us be realistic.

Okay. Let us be realistic. We need money to live. Even Jesus had needs. For example when Peter was asked: “Does your teacher not pay the temple tax?” Peter says: “Yes.” Later, when Peter goes to Jesus, does Jesus just tell Peter to pay the tax? Does Jesus just reach into His pocket and give Peter the money. No. Jesus carried no money. Jesus tells Peter to go fishing and to take from the mouth of the first fish caught a coin for the exact amount of the temple tax for Peter and Jesus to pay. Not a little extra for dinner and a beer. Jesus is so unconcerned with money, in fact, He appoints Judas Iscariot to carry the money bag of whom John tells us in chapter twelve of his gospel “was a thief.” —Like Jesus didn’t know.

Yet, we can honestly say: “We need money to live in this society.” And this is true. Jesus tells us “the laborer deserves his wage,” but we are only to have the necessities, only what we need as we are to take nothing for our journey; neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats.

Store not up riches on Earth.

We are instructed to consider the lilies of the field and take no concern for the morrow. This is reinforced in the parable of the Rich Fool who plans great things with his wealth only to die that very night. Think about this in the context of Radical Discipleship. This means no investments, no savings accounts, no money stuffed under your mattress. How terrifying! How can this be? Who will provide? Is God for salvation and money for every thing else? What good is a savings account meant to feed me on a day that may come, when my brother is starving now?

We have giant warehouses of food called “supermarkets” with so much food that a substantial percentage is cast onto the rubbish heaps daily and a man starves to death outside for want of a dollar. Children go to bed hungry, and parents age prematurely wondering how to make ends meet for lack of a living wage. Moreover, people have houses so large they have rooms they never go in, meanwhile others freeze on the streets for lack of even a coat.

We have traded the idea of I need. . . for I want. . .  and I deserve. . . Modern society has made profit and material wealth the highest virtue and the greatest good, and God seems to be a fashion statement, or, even worse, a means to justify and deceive.

So much wealth. So much wealth. So much wealth in the midst of so much hunger and poverty. It boggles the mind.

On one hand: building full of food. On the other: hungry human beings created in the in the image of God.

This is not what Jesus meant when He said Do not let the left hand know what the right hand is doing. He was speaking to the giving of alms.

Now let us see. Giant building full of food/hungry people. Building full of food/hungry people. I know there is a solution here somewhere. Building of food/hungry people. Alright, I give up. I suppose there is no easy answer. There is an insurmountable obstacle made of green paper and proudly proclaiming “In God We Trust” that stands between a starving child and simple food. My Lord, what can be done?

Blessed are the poor in spirit.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Wealth apologists focus on the “in spirit” saying, “He is talking about detachment, I am rich but if I lost it all tomorrow, I’d be happy.”  No. This is a lie. If it were true and the rich man could be detached, I ask you: Why would that man be rich? He would have all that he needed, a modest house and reasonable creature comforts, and for the rest, he would give it to the poor and store up treasure in Heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt.

The time for Radical Discipleship is upon us. No more excuses. We must learn to trust in God and take a leap of faith. Until we are all in the same boat, until our security no longer comes at the expense of the other, until we all rise or fall together, we will never fully realize the Kingdom of God on Earth. A Catholic can not say “when the Kingdom comes, I will enter”.  No.  As we Christians enter, one by one, we bring the Kingdom into being. There is no other way to realize the Kingdom of God. You must shed Caesar’s corpse full of filth and corruption and unite yourself to the Mystical Body of Christ.

Let us pray:

O Lord, we pray You, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, grant that we your disciples accept Your grace and shed our fears. That we learn to rely on You and You alone. Let us begin to share all that we have been blessed with in common so that all people have their needs fulfilled. Grant that greed, excess, and frivolity are ever stricken from our hearts. Let us know poverty of material and stand with the poor so that we may become wealthy in spirit and realize the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth here and now. Let us know that it is You alone, Lord, for salvation and You alone for everything else. We ask this in the name of Christ our Lord.

Amen.

May almighty God bless you; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

(C) Copyright 10 November 2018

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