The Rich Get Richer
The Poor Get Poorer
I came across an interesting You Tube video that focused on the distribution of wealth in the United States. It demonstrated just how wide the gap is between the rich and the poor. We all know that the rich are getting richer, but by how much is shocking. In the video it points out that 1% of Americans have 40% of the countries wealth. 8 out 10 people have only 7% of the countries wealth. The average worker would have to work more than a month to earn what the CEO earns in an hour.
But as we listen to the first reading for this Sunday’s liturgy, we realize that inequity in the distribution of wealth is not a new problem.
We will measure out less and charge more, and tamper with the scales, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”
For the prophet it is not only that these people are doing something dishonest, but they are offending God as well. The abundance of the resources of God's creation are not mankind's to own and do with as they like. We are not owners, we are stewards of God's good earth, charged with the responsibility of using it for the good of all.
Over the centuries, various political/economic systems have been used, but none has prevented this inequity of shared wealth from happening. It is interesting to note that in our time, a real sense of stewardship of our world resources has emerged - seen in the growing concern over the environment.
As you may know, last year Pope Francis issued an encyclical -Laudato Si'-on the environment. Perhaps the most important new focus of the encyclical is the relationship between global poverty, catastrophic inequality, and worship of the golden calf of consumerism that leads to environmental destruction.
The Pope does not mince words in his condemnation of worshiping gross national product over human life and health. The poor and marginal are his greatest concern, and they suffer the most from economic and environmental injustice.
In today's gospel, in Jesus' story of the Dishonest Stewart, his commendation for his shrewdness is meant as a judgement against him and all who act likewise.
Today we are reminded of our stewardship, both of creation and one another. The gospel ends by asking us as stewards which master are we serving?