The Gospel Approach to the Goods of this World

vs. the American Social Darwinist Approach:

If the totality of your grasp of Catholic Social Teaching is “Subsidiarity means I earned it and I get to keep it” you have embraced a radically deformed gospel and need to learn about the Dignity of the Human Person, the Common Good, and Solidarity.

The gospel treats our earth goods in just way it treats our spiritual gifts: you have been chosen to receive those goods for the sake of the unchosen. The rich exist for the sake of the poor, says St. John Chrysostom, and the poor exist for the salvation of the rich. Do not dare to tell the poor that they are so because they are lazy and you are a go getter. Your wealth–especially that you imagine you earned–is a gift. If you do not believe that, you never really believed in the grace of God at all because whatever powers you exercised to earn it were given you by God. And the odd are very high that in addition to those powers, you were, like the kids on the front line in that video, handed a thousand advantages it never entered your head to thank God for.

Dives had his wealth for one reason: to bless Lazarus. It is up to us to refuse to be like Dives and to recall that if we do not see Christ in the beggar at the Church door, we shall not find him in the chalice.

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