Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
March 15, 2009
The More Important Things in Life
Our nation is in the midst of one of the most drastic economic downturns in decades and it is not only causing financial hardship for many but emotional turmoil as well. There are many factors that come into play in this crisis not the least of which forces us to realize that we, as a nation, have become extremely greedy. The desire for money, profit, power etc. have reached a peak that no one would have predicted. When we listen to the news we are forced to hear the almost daily revelations of fraudulent behavior. How has this happened?
The reality is that greed and power are not new to the human condition. In reading a novel by John Jakes on the Civil War, it is impossible not to make the association with present times. While some people are trying their best to mend fences and keep things from deteriorating politically, others are driven to do everything in their power to make a profit at the expense of their country’s misfortune.
This week’s Gospel tells us that this type of thinking and behavior was also prevalent in the times of Christ. The reading is filled with frenzied activity, not to help their neighbors but to make a profit. Pilgrims from points near and far have traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover. “The throngs are streaming to the temple where moneychangers have set up their exchange tables and where profiteering opportunist have taken to selling oxen, sheep, and doves so that the exploited poor might be able to present a suitable offering at the altar.” (Rev. Neil Kookoothe)
The story is not meant to reveal Jesus’ bad temper. It is meant to remind us that this type of activity is un-Godlike. Jesus wants to teach us that the important offering is one of ourselves in spirit and in truth. Also, allowing people to suffer while we make a profit is wrong. As followers of Christ we must always keep the poor and the less fortunate within our sights.
As Catholics we have well oiled machines that do the work of taking care of the poor in our name. We are asked for small donations and the money is used to maximum capacity. Through Catholic Relief Services for example, we can reach thousands if not millions of God’s poor. CRS offer new life to countless orphans and vulnerable children who have lost parents and caregivers to HIV and AIDS. These little ones are provided food, educational opportunities, counseling, life skills training, housing and healthcare.
As we go through Lent let us take some time to reflect on our behaviors and motivations viz-a-vie the poor and less fortunate. Are our motives pure, kind and compassionate or do we sometimes feel the pull toward indifference? Remembering the lesson of the Gospel will help to guide us in our reflection.
Lorette P. Nault