Most of you who read this live in dwellings with running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, and heating. Many of you have automobiles, refrigerators, and TVs. Some of you have dishwashers, computers, and air conditioning. A few of you have second homes, boats, and millions of dollars.
Jesus says: "Woe to you rich" (Lk 6:24). It's so easy to shrug off His words and think, "He can't be talking about me. I don't have a dishwasher, and I don't have a summer home." Forget those comparisons. If we must compare, let's compare ourselves to those Jesus addressed. Every one of those people walked a long distance to the "level stretch" by the mountain (Lk 6:17). No one had coolers full of ice and drinks. There were no bathrooms or vending machines. Nearly all of them slept on mats on the floor of what we would consider huts. Even the rich in the crowd and in that society couldn't imagine in their wildest dreams the lifestyle most of us live today. Yet Jesus felt it was important for His first-century hearers to be warned of the woes of riches.
"I am about to give you some advice on this matter of rich and poor" (2 Cor 8:10). Jesus is the same today as on that day (Heb 13:8). By His standards, we are rich — and in danger of woe. Don't disregard Jesus' words. He is Lord and Judge. We must tremble at His word (Is 66:2). We must judge our lives by His words and standards, not by those of our culture.
Repent of not using your resources for the kingdom of God. Simplify your lives. Tithe and give alms, and "all will be wiped clean for you" (Lk 11:41).
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from August 1, 2005 through September 30, 2005.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2005.