Money, root of all evils?

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features - By FR. BEL SAN LUIS, SVD

“IT is eas­ier for a camel to pass through the eye of a nee­dle than for a rich man to en­ter the king­dom of God?” (Mk 10,25).

Je­sus’ words are rather dis­turb­ing for the rich. What does he mean? Does he mean that the af­flu­ent are al­most im­pos­si­ble to en­ter God’s king­dom? Con­versely, are the poor nec­es­sar­ily priv­i­leged to en­ter his King­dom?

A witty man once said: “Peo­ple say, ‘Money is the root of all evils,’ but they’s wel­come to plant it in my gar­den any­time.” In other words, money is not nec­es­sar­ily evil.

Je­sus him­self en­joyed the food, the par­ties, the lodg­ing of­fered by rich peo­ple like Zac­cheus the tax col­lec­tor, Joseph of Ari­mathea who lent his tomb. With money you can do a lot of good like putting up low-cost hous­ing or em­ploy the job­less in your com­pany. But with money you can do a lot of evil, too. You can bribe peo­ple, buy votes, trade and mar­ket il­le­gal drugs, in­flu­ence judges’ de­ci­sions, and so on.

AT­TACHED TO WEALTH? The dan­ger of be­ing rich – and this is what Christ warns against – is the ex­ces­sive at­tach­ment to wealth and the self­ish plea­sures that go with it.

This is shown in to­day’s Sun­day’s gospel episode (Mk 10,17) where the rich young man went away sad be­cause he couldn’t give up his pos­ses­sions in or­der to fol­low Christ.

What’s cen­sured is not wealth in it­self but the re­ver­sal of val­ues, that is, in­stead of man pos­sess­ing his riches, he be­comes pos­sessed by them.

To il­lus­trate: A busi­ness­man who re­signed as pres­i­dent of a com­pany has this ob­ser­va­tion: “There’s one cor­po­ra­tion chief I had who worked con­ser­va­tively 19-20 hours a day. His whole life was his busi­ness. And he de­manded the same of his ex­ec­u­tives.’’

Meet­ings might be called on Christ­mas eve or New Year’s Day, on Satur­days or Sun­days. One day the slave-driv­ing boss was found slumped on his of­fice ta­ble – a vic­tim of heart at­tack!

Poor guy, he ended a ser­vant, not of peo­ple, but of money.

On the re­verse side, poverty is not nec­es­sar­ily a virtue. A poor man who curses his lot, whose sole ob­ses­sion in life is to be as rich as his wealthy neigh­bor is very poor, in­deed. But if, de­spite poverty, one can turn to God and help his fel­low­men, then poverty is a Chris­tian virtue.

Fur­ther, Je­sus re­minds us in to­day’s gospel of the SO­CIAL com­mit­ment of wealth if we want to en­ter heaven, thus: “Go and sell what you have and give to the poor; you will have then trea­sure in heaven” (Mk 10,21).

“Shar­ing” with the un­der­priv­i­leged means not merely dol­ing out but putting one’s money in mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment like pay­ing wage that’s le­gal, giv­ing to em­ploy­ees more ben­e­fits like hous­ing, credit coops. Giv­ing them what’s le­gal will also pre­vent un­rest and strikes.

ASK YOUR­SELF. Are you us­ing your riches only for per­sonal needs and self-en­joy­ment or do you share them with the needy and less for­tu­nate?

There are lots of peo­ple liv­ing in grind­ing proverty. LIVE SIM­PLY AND SHARE SO OTH­ERS MAY SIM­PLY LIVE.

IN­DI­GENT SICK. Talk­ing of shar­ing wealth with the poor, there are in­di­gent sick we’re sup­port­ing like Dante C. suf­fer­ing from re­nal fail­ure, Maria M., stage 3 can­cer, TB pa­tients Rosana, M. Maranga, Jacky L. How about al­le­vi­at­ing their suf­fer­ings by con­tribut­ing an amount to buy their medicine?

For in­quiry, e-mail me at:

THE LIGHTER SIDE. Three kids are brag­ging to each other. The first says, “Our house is worth 120 mil­lion.” The sec­ond coun­tered, “Our garage alone costs 115 mil­lion.” The third says non­cholantly, “That’s noth­ing. The roof of our house is worth 1500 mil­lion.”

The two kids were dumb­founded. “Ha, why so ex­pen­sive?” He replies: “Our roof is the fly­over!”

Peo­ple say, ‘Money is the root of all evils,’ but they’s wel­come to plant it in my gar­den any­time

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