Tuesday, August 21, 2012

He's not a communist

In today's gospel we hear the famous verse, " it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God." If any modern person said this they would be labeled a communist or a socialist.

Once again the issue is not rich or poor. Rich are not by definition more sinful. And poor people are certainly not by definition some how holier.

The first reading today gives us a lens through which to interpret this verse.

Because you are haughty of heart,
you say, "A god am I!
I occupy a godly throne
in the heart of the sea!"--
And yet you are a man, and not a god,
however you may think yourself like a god.
Oh yes, you are wiser than Daniel,
there is no secret that is beyond you.
By your wisdom and your intelligence
you have made riches for yourself;
You have put gold and silver
into your treasuries.
By your great wisdom applied to your trading
you have heaped up your riches;
your heart has grown haughty from your riches?

The people God condemns are those whom he describes as haughty, those who believe that it is by their own wisdom and intelligence alone that they have become rich.

If I am intelligent, did I make myself intelligent? I may have studied and developed the gift but it came from God. Michael Phelps made train like crazy, but if he did not have the height and build that he does he would not be the champion that he is. Did he create his height?

Jesus is not speaking out again wealth per se but the dangerous temptation toward hubris that comes with it. We should live each day constantly aware that anything "I accomplish" is only possible because of some gift I have received from God, first and foremost—Life.