Speak Lord: Draw us to love

Conspicuous Wealth

The second reading on Sunday, the 26th Sunday of the Year sounds like it could have come from one of Pope Francis’ critiques of unbridled capitalism – which he reminds us is called ‘dung of the devil’ in our tradition -, or the denunciation by Bartolomé de las Casas of the exploitation of South America’s people by European rulers, adventurers, and occupiers.

The Gospel demands justice and compassion.

An answer for the rich. Start crying, weep for the miseries that are coming to you. Your wealth is all rotting, your clothes are all eaten up by moths. All your gold and your silver are corroding away, and the same corrosion will be your own sentence, and eat into your body. It was a burning fire that you stored up as your treasure for the last days. Labourers mowed your fields, and you cheated them – listen to the wages that you kept back, calling out; realise that the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. On earth you have had a life of comfort and luxury; in the time of slaughter you went on eating to your heart’s content. It was you who condemned the innocent and killed them; they offered you no resistance.

James 5:1-6

And yet so often the Church has herself been complicit in the exploitation and has benefited from it in material ways. We live in a place where moral choices matter and we sometimes get them wrong.

  • Today notice the choices you make and consider the impact they may have on others.
  • Bring your conclusions in prayer to God. Does God agree with your assessment?

Statue and golden surround from church in Madrid. Often such gold was plundered from the New Spain – the colonies in the Americas. (c) 2003, Allen Morris

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