Friday, July 29, 2011

"You-NITED STATES who have no money"

I watched some talk shows last night about the debt debate going on in Washington right now. Man, were people on both sides angry! I don’t remember seeing and sensing such frustration and anger on political talk shows in such a short amount of time. Each show revealed more and more contempt…it’s like this thing is growing out of control. I know that last night was a big night in terms of the House vote, but it seems like the whole situation is about to boil over. People are seeing this and addressing it, but it’s only in financial terms (or the ramifications due to our finances).

In an ironic and meaningful way, God will address this Himself on Sunday. In the first reading, His words through the prophet Isaiah can certainly apply to the United States:

Thus says the LORD:..
You who have no money,
come, receive grain and eat;
Come, without paying and without cost,
drink wine and milk!
Why spend your money for what is not bread;
your wages for what fails to satisfy?
Heed me, and you shall eat well,
you shall delight in rich fare.

We can hear the Lord saying, “You-nited States, who have no money…why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy?” We are basically approaching the situation – if we’re not there already – of having no money. How did we get here? Because our government has spent money for what is not bread. Both parties are acknowledging that we are in this mess because of irresponsible spending. They have been spending money on things we don’t need…things that don’t satisfy us or our budgets. If they had been spending OUR wages on things that did satisfy, it would be a totally different situation and debate.

This reading leads to the bigger point which I think many people will come to on their own in the coming days, weeks, and months. We are not only approaching bankruptcy financially as a nation. We are approaching bankruptcy politically, morally, and nationally. People are getting so fed up with politicians – ALL of them – that that is what’s about to boil over. There might be a mass exodus from political discourse and movements because people are becoming so disillusioned and indifferent. I hope this doesn’t happen because politics and politicians are necessary. But, people have put a lot of their resources into politicians and political movements; I can see them coming to the point where they realize that they have spent their money on things that don’t satisfy. They will see the truth of the matter: politics and politicians don’t satisfy us.

We can then take this situation to a broader level of morality as a country and as individuals. Have the moral choices we’ve made gone to things that satisfy us? Do we each choose things of substance, for example, like going to Mass on Sundays? This is what satisfies us. Or, do we choose things on Sundays that fail to satisfy, like watching TV or shopping or playing sports? These things are not bad in themselves (maybe like a lot of the programs that politicians include in their budgets), but they aren’t bread…they don’t satisfy us . What God offers us at Mass – the Bread of Life ironically – THAT is what satisfies us. And, we can go on down the list, comparing good vs. evil, virtue vs. vice. One satisfies, the other doesn’t. The point God is making is that only He satisfies. Many of us have go after the things of the world and spend our money on things that don’t satisfy us -riches, possessions, the party scene, politics, whatever - until we finally see that only God (and the things of God) satisfies us.

Pay special attention to this Sunday’s Gospel. Christ gathers a big crowd and does something incredible for them. It’s not a big show with bright lights in which He offers them the newest, most attractive craze. He feeds them. He gives them food which satisfies them. It’s so simple! It’s obviously a preview to the Eucharist – listen for the Eucharistic language. We go around looking for all this “stuff” that will make us happy…will really satisfy us. And, after all the running around for the latest fad or hottest item, we see that what really makes us happy is that which fills us…that which fulfills us…that which satisfies us. And, “that which” has a name: Jesus Christ. The bread that He offers – especially the Eucharist – is what satisfies us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A slight twist, "You-naughty States". We tend to be a society that lives for what we think is the real present (things) rather than the Real Presence (the Eucharist).