WORSHIP OF MONEY
There’s something alarming in our society that we never denounce enough. We live in a civilization that has, as its focus of thinking and criterion of acting, the secret conviction that what’s most important and decisive isn’t what one is, but what one has. It’s been said that money is «the symbol and idol of our civilization» (Miguel Delibes). And in fact most people give their being and sacrifice their whole life to it.
John K. Galbraith, the great theorist of modern capitalism, describes the power of money thus in his work The Affluent Society: money «carries with it three fundamental advantages: first, the joy of power it give the person; second, the actual possession of everything that money can buy; third, the prestige or respect a rich person enjoys, thanks to his wealth».
How many people, without daring to confess it, know that in their life, to one degree or another, what’s decisive, important and definitive is the earning of money, acquiring material wellbeing, reaching economic prestige.
Here without doubt is one of the most serious breakdowns of our civilization. Western man has made himself all too materialist and, in spite of our great protests about freedom, justice or solidarity, we hardly believe in anything else but money.
And yet, few people are happy. With money you can build a fine dwelling, but you can’t create a warm home. With money you can buy yourself a comfortable bed, but not a peaceful sleep. With money you can form new relationships, but not awaken true friendship. With money you can buy pleasure, but not happiness. But we believers need to remember something even more. Money opens all doors, but never opens the door of our heart to God.
We Christians aren’t used to the violent image of a Messiah whipping the people. And yet that is Jesus’ reaction when he encountered people, even in the temple, who don’t know how to seek anything other than their own business dealings.
The temple has stopped being a place of meeting the Father, when our life is a marketplace where worship is only rendered to money. And you can’t have a relationship of son or daughter with God our Father when our relationships with others are mediated only by interest in money. It’s impossible to understand something about God’s love, kindness, and welcome when you only go about seeking wellbeing. You can’t serve God and Money.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf