“Money, money, money!”
by Brian Ingram
“Money, money, money!” – as the Abba song goes, “it’s the rich man’s world.” And that’s where the problem lies. Money is tainted, as Jesus describes it, because it carries the danger of reducing our world to the attainment of money. When money is our world, then it also becomes our God and we can find ourselves even serving it. Like the Abba song, today’s few verses mentions money so many times that it almost seems like a little world in which money dominates.
But of course, there is no real intrinsic problem with money. It is strictly an artificial means invented by ourselves to facilitate trading with each other. In the past, trading happened through putting an equivalent value on various goods, even time, so that a day of a man’s work was said to be equivalent to, for example, a sack of potatoes. Money was invented to represent the same value as the hours of work or a quantity of vegetables, so that we would not need to carry around sacks of potatoes if we wanted some skilled worker to do a job for us. Money was a great idea and it facilitated society because we could give something we had in exchange for something we wanted. It was a way of using our gifts, skills, goods to service others and to benefit from those skills etc. of others in return. The taintedness of money comes not from money itself but from the human heart, in which greed resides. From within the heart, the need and desire to build society and to exchange goods and skills can be corrupted into the lust simply for profit. The heart can produce a self-centredness that simply wants to take advantage of others. As mentioned above, the corrupt heart can shrink the world simply to ourself.
Jesus invites us to use money in a different way. Profit is no bad thing, it only becomes bad insofar as it is used wholly to serve ourselves. What matters in the end is the state of our heart. It is through our union with Jesus that our hearts are transformed. Like the heart of Jesus, who came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many, our hearts can give money its true value in the building of society and the kingdom of God.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, make our hearts like unto thine. Amen.
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