Lagura: The danger with riches-A A +A
In the service of the Word
Saturday, September 29, 2012
CLOSE to the heels of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are some of our own billionaires. By exploiting their God-given talents, through grim determination, hard work and some luck they have reached the dizzying heights of economic wealth. Poor mortals, like ourselves, are left to wonder what kind of lives they live. They are immensely privileged. With
their enormous bank accounts they live lives of the “rich and the famous.” The question, however, is whether they are truly happy. More to the point is to ask, are they really blessed?
In his letter to the early Christians St. James lets out scathing warnings, even condemnations of the wealthy. For some reasons he would like us to think about his words. First, while it is true that the rich can afford comfort, luxury and a life of pleasure, these advantages, especially pleasure are transitory. All such privileges end up in vanity especially when seen in the light of eternity. If our dreams are based solely on riches, then such dreams are at best illusions.
Likewise, when the world places so much importance on riches and seduces young lives to aspire for wealth, so many lives will be piled up as bodies and souls forming enormous pyramids of sacrifice for some individuals to reach the summit of wealth. But once these few reach the goal of being wealthy, they have to be on constant guard battling for their status and their material possessions. Peace of soul becomes a luxury. Drugs and drinks are taken as poor remedies.
Thirdly, the rich having to hold their material possessions will have to dedicate so much time and effort to increase their wealth. Once they reach their millions, they will dream and work towards being billionaires. Man’s desires for material possessions and pleasure can never be satiated. When it comes to acquiring earthly goods and their accompanying pleasures we are like bottomless pits.
Lastly, St. James warned the rich against building up their financial empires on the backs of the poor who are often exploited and mercilessly left in their misery. So much wealth are accumulated in the hands of so few while so many, billions of them, are left lagging so far behind in even tasting the blessings God has given to the world.
Realizing that so much wealth is in their hands while billions scarcely have enough for their survival, some of the rich (without mentioning names) advocate population control. And they want to carry out this discriminatory measure through drastic means like sterilization and even abortion. The sight of so many “poor” children pricks their consciences. Forgotten is the beauty and the immense value of life God gives to each and every human being. The war waged against innocent babies left so defenseless in their mothers’ wombs translates often into battles and wars in our world. As Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said in her address to the United Nations, our world will never taste peace as long as abortion goes unabated.
In God’s plan the goods of the earth are for human beings, for their good and not the other way around. When one becomes wealthy, he or she must realize the responsibility that goes with it. And the danger as well. You might not be a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet. Yet, together with the wealthy, you and all of us in reading the letter of St. James will have been given fair warning.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 30, 2012.