Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What's the week for?

In his homily during the Mass, Pope Benedict recalled that after his entry into Jerusalem, Jesus found the Temple cluttered with traders busy with various money-making schemes. That bit of Gospel history should cause Christians today to pause and ask themselves whether our faith is "open and pure enough," the Pope remarked. Non-believers coming into Christian churches should be able to "see the light of the one God," rather than be distracted, he said.

The Pope prodded the faithful to examine their consciences particularly with respect to financial affairs, recognizing that "greed is idolatry.

The bit about greed is a particular problem for me. I'm not sure that I'd actually do anything interesting if I were to make a trader type of salary, beyond blowing my bonus on a mainframe, but seeing increasing numbers in your bank account can be intoxicating. Don't get me wrong - there's nothing wrong with making money. After all, you need to provide for yourself, your family, and support the less fortunate in the world. But, in my experience, it's easy to slide from a natural desire to perform your best in the workplace to an all too natural desire to one up your neighbor. And one upping your neighbor is not one of the commandments, unless you mean one up in the Super Mario sense of giving them a new life.

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