We are a very rich country. Even some of our most poor folks are richer that many people in other parts of the world. Naturally, I'm talking about money. That seems to be the big thing in today's world. I read a while back that we are in the greatest inequity of income since 1927. And, everyone wonders why the economy isn't performing so well. Well, when a small percentage of people hoard the item, in this case money, there just isn't much left for anyone else. Kind of like if I go buy all of the Crunchy Peanut Butter at all the grocery stores in town, nobody else can have any. Besides that, when someone sinks a company and then walks away with $10 or $20 million, something is really wrong!
I wonder if it is just coincidence that the scriptures for church over the last several weeks refer to the rich having a hard time with the Kingdom. Of course, the rich think that they have it made with all of their possessions. Interestingly, however, when they die, all of that stuff doesn't go into the casket. Yes, they may have a nicer casket than I will (I'm planning on a pine box from the brothers near Dubuque) , but they are buried the same depth as the rest of us. Today's Gospel is especially instructive about this situation. If you are reading this and don't go to church or use the standardized lectionary, today's Gospel was about the rich man and poor old Lazarus. Both end up in the afterworld, but Lazarus gets his comfort at the feet of Father Abraham and the rich man, well you guessed it, already had his comfort and now "enjoys" the fires of the other place.
I am more and more convinced that to turn around this country, we need to start with the basics. When I was growing up in the 50's, it seemed that people helped each other out no matter who they were. I remember my dad telling stories of how, during the depression, even the "bums" could get a decent meal at the back door. Today, the poor, homeless, and so on are much like Lazarus in today's Gospel - they sit at the doorstep of the rich man, but are completely ignored like they don't even exist. We really need to get out of this "me, me, me, me first" mode and begin thinking about what we can do every day to make some else's life a little easier to live. Sacrifice ourselves for someone else's comforts.
The essential message of the scriptures has been from time immemorial - take care of the widows and orphans and be kind to the alien. Boy, you don't here much of that bantered about in the Halls of Congress these days.
With Congress essentially stuck in cement, I'm thinking my idea of abolishing political parties is sounding more and more inviting each day. Does anyone know how we get a message to all of those folks in D.C. that they will listen to? I'm kind of tired of the good old form letter about how important my feedback is followed by a lesson in whatever topic I'm writing about. Do they really think that I'm that unknowledgeable about the topic I just explained in great detail what I would like them to do?
Perhaps, we need to insist on that set of plans passed about the internet last week - a list of actions attributed to Warren Buffet that effectively makes Congress follow the same rules that the rest of us do - you know insurance, taxes, retirement, medical plans, and the like.
All I know is that I don't have the answers, but it surely feels like little old me can't have an impact at all to start getting those folks out there to work together for the good of the country instead of making political points so that they can stay in office.