Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sunday July 17th Reflection

The Good seed is the Word of God

A Reflection for Sunday July 17th 2011

By Rev. Fr. Robert Johnnene OFD

Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/Franciscans of Divine Mercy

We often hear the expression “Money is the root of all evil” and sometimes it seems that it is very true.

All we have to do is look at the current situation in the world and more explicitly in the United States and ponder if that is not the case.

In reality the root of all evil is NOT money but man’s DESIRE FOR POWER and symbols of status; greed and the seeking of great wealth to increase one’s status in the eyes of powerful people, or jealousy over losing control over people because of a loss of status in the world of finance is the actual cause of the evil that often occurs. Money is an obvious measure of one’s status, so it’s easy to confuse the two.

The actual statement from which this expression came is; “For the love of money is the root of all evil.” and is found in Timothy, 6:10.

Every day we are reminded that the US is headed to a major financial crisis unless the people who were elected to govern it can come together and make changes to the budget in order to forego a collapse of the government.

One political group wants to cut services to the poor and aged but is unwilling to the eliminate tax breaks that the super-rich get that allows them to pay less than the average working person.

This is a perfect example of how the desire for money and the power it can bring has corrupted even those who claim to be Christians.

They are willing to ignore the needs of the poor, aged and seniors on low fixed incomes while the cost of the daily necessities of life keeps going up.

Another example that is in the news this week is how some newspaper have used illegal means to obtain information in order to sell newspapers. Even some Religious denominations have succumbed to this desire for money not for humanitarian use but for status and the symbols of status and power.

The reading from the book of Wisdom 12 for this Sunday talks about being kind to your brothers and sisters in Christ, which means every man, woman and child on the face of the earth. “You are mild in judgment, you govern us with great lenience, for you have only to will, and your power is there. By acting thus you have taught a lesson to your people how the virtuous man must be kindly to his fellow men” It is sad that our government leaders do not follow this kind of governing.

Kindness, Compassion, Justice, Mercy, and Charity are virtues that often seem to be in short supply in our world today. They have been replaced with the notion that we should live with the concept of obscene salaries for CEOs and higher and higher dividends and profits for the giant corporations.

In August 2004 Andrew Greeley wrote in the Chicago Sun Times; “The most serious spiritual problem in the country today is reckless and untrammeled greed. Greed caused the disgraceful corporate scandals that fill our newspapers. Greed is responsible for crooked cops and crooked politicians. Greed causes the constant efforts to destroy unions that protect basic worker rights. Greed has produced rash tax cuts that have given money to the rich and in effect taken it away from the poor.”

Sadly, things have not changed but only gotten worse since 2004.

The oil companies continue to earn exorbitant profits which have caused the prices for gasoline and heating oil to more than double in the last year which has caused the cost of food and other basics of life to constantly increase yet the government has cut 10% from what individuals on food stamps receive claiming that the cost of living has gone down. I don’t know what country they are living in but it is not the same one I live in.

Seniors who live on their Social Security have not gotten a Cost of living increase in more than 3 years.

This is a prime example of Greed causing great evil because it is hurting those who can least afford to be hurt, the poor, aged and ill.

In his comments in 2004 Andrew Greeley went on to say; “No one said during the bizarre deification of President Reagan that he taught us that greed is good and that we should feel good about our greedy country. Greed is the reason that the country is being run by the insurance, pharmaceutical, weapons and petroleum industries. Greed causes worldwide sex slavery of women and children.”

This situation has only gotten worse in the last seven years.

One of the results of the economy problems is that agencies like food banks, Salvation Army, Religious and private charities and churches, ours included, who attempt to relieve the suffering of the poor, aged and ill have experienced a huge drop is donations resulting in their inability to help all who are in need.

The time is now for every person who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ and believe in a God of Compassion, mercy and love, to take inventory of their lives and seek the Holy Spirit’s help is making the changes necessary to eliminate the seeds of evil mindset that have overtaken the good seed of the Word of God. We must live the words of Christ in the Beatitudes and what He called “THE GREATEST COMMANDMENTS”; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” We must become more mindful of the needs of others especially the poor, sick and those who contributed to our economy all their productive adult lives and now are forced to live on low fixed incomes that are often below poverty standards.

Just as the enemy, the evil one, has penetrated the minds of some people, sowing bad seed into their minds, especially the young, making them think that wealth, material possessions, fame, power and luxurious living is what to seek, we must harvest the bad seed and destroy it so that we can reap the good which is the teachings of Christ. As the Gospel today advises; “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Today’s reading from Paul’s Letter to the Romans affirms; “The Spirit comes to help us in our weakness. … and God who knows everything in our hearts knows perfectly well our needs” from Romans 8:26 - 27

Let us rid ourselves of self-indulgence and instead begin to find ways to be charitable, compassionate , forgiving and most importantly, live daily the teachings of Christ by loving, caring for our neighbor ( every human on the face of the earth) as Christ loved and cared for all He encountered. AMEN

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