Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Pluto

Pluto is the god of money. He bullies and bribes us into believing that making and hoarding money is the meaning of life. He deceives us into thinking that the amount of money one controls is a measure of one’s virtue. People loyal to Pluto regard the rich as virtuous: smart, hard-working, and blessed. That allows them to regard the poor as vicious: stupid, lazy, and deservedly punished.

During the last 2,000 years, we the Church have mostly been conventional. We have mostly talked about Jesus while devoting ourselves to Pluto.

Happily, some Christians have maintained a radiant witness to Jesus. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), for example, walked away from Pluto and family wealth to earn nothing. Instead, he witnessed to Jesus by serving poor people and starting a monastic order of beggars. The Roman Catholic Church rightly calls him a saint.

For centuries, a few people made vast fortunes buying and selling other people. Pluto justified this practice by deceiving those devoted to him into thinking that these other people were not quite human. Jesus enabled William Wilberforce (1759-1833) of England to see that lie and affirm the truth. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, he worked steadfastly within Parliament to outlaw trading in slaves and then slavery itself.

William Booth (1829-1912) committed himself to caring for England’s poorest people in 1865. Others joined him in what became the Salvation Army. Our friends in the Salvation Army continue this important witness today.

Pluto measures virtue in terms of money. With a word from Jesus and the dynamic love of the Holy Spirit, we may do otherwise. As radiant witnesses, we too may practice solidarity with poor people and challenge ways in which our societies keep them poor.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.