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Sunday Homily: Jesus Rejects Money and Work: He Embraces 'Back to Nature' Abundance

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Headlined to H4 3/2/14

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When Paul Ryan (R-Wis) heard that, hypocrisy demanded that he and his Republican cronies reverse their position on "job lock." Formerly they were against it. In fact a couple of years ago, Ryan said,"[The] key question that ought to be addressed in any healthcare reform legislation is, are we going to continue job-lock or are we going to allow individuals more choice and portability to fit the 21st century workforce?"

Now, however, since freedom from "job lock" represented a boon of the ACA, Ryan and the Republicans had changed their tune. They quickly became opponents of "more choice and portability." Having realized that Obamacare will not eliminate jobs, but increase worker freedom to change jobs or leave the workforce altogether, GOP spokespersons were forced to readopt their familiar tack of demonizing empowered workers and the poor.

This meant that mothers and fathers leaving coveted jobs at McDonalds or as greeters in Wal-Mart to spend more time with their families were characterized as slackers and lazy. According to Ryan, such people lose respect for "the dignity of work." They were worthy of their traditional rank among Republicans' favorite target, the undeserving poor. (Never mind that Ryan has done everything he can to undermine labor's dignity -- but that's another story.)

The point is that Jesus and his sainted friends were not only among the undeserving poor, they flaunted it. They recognized that according to God's natural order, the world belongs to all creatures including the birds and flowers. If its resources were shared according to Jesus' Kingdom values, there'd be enough for everyone -- just as there was for birds and flowers in Jesus' day.

So in minimizing the importance of money and praising freedom from work, Jesus was not being unrealistic or some starry-eyed hippy. Instead (as always) he was proclaiming the Kingdom of God. In God's order, he insisted, there is abundance for everyone -- or as Gandhi said enough for everyone's need, but not for their greed.

Realizing the reality of God's and nature's abundance -- and not giving in to the world's myth of scarcity, overwork, and focus on money -- should give workers and those not belonging to Ryan's 1% courage to demand what is their birthright.

That natural condition is a life without worry about making ends meet and with enough leisure to enjoy life just like the birds and flowers.

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Mike Rivage-Seul is a liberation theologian and former Roman Catholic priest. Recently retired, he taught at Berea College in Kentucky for 36 years where he directed Berea's Peace and Social Justice Studies Program.Mike blogs (more...)
 
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Today's Gospel reading represents a strong indictm... by Mike Rivage-Seul on Sunday, Mar 2, 2014 at 5:00:02 AM
A beautiful message. Thank you! ... by Peter Duveen on Monday, Mar 3, 2014 at 11:59:04 AM
Let's take it further to a year of Jubilee, which... by Michael Dewey on Monday, Mar 3, 2014 at 12:56:50 PM