Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
July 1, 2002
Jesus would weep over G-8
What would Jesus do at the G-8 meeting? First, he would be on the side of the demonstrators because our world is horribly askew, way out of line with God's plan.
Something new must be born. In the 1960s', the rich world was going to have a decade for development and make most things right. Instead, the gap between rich and poor got much worse, in no small part because of the actions of rich nations. We enticed Third World countries into abandoning subsistence agriculture in favour of cash crops for export.
Millions of people were thrown off the land and into the urban underclass - people with no jobs and no economic future. Commodity prices were driven down by the huge oversupply of crops for export. That led to the Third World debt crisis.
In his life, Jesus was always with the poor. He was born with them; he healed their sick; he cured their lame; and he died with them. Those who had power saw him as a threat.
If Jesus were at the G-8 summit, he would be with those calling for a new way. Not because economic and social equality in this world is the final end. It is not.
The final end is the glory of God.
But for the rich, giving glory to God is nearly impossible. As St. John Chrysostom once said, "Those who love money are fierce in the pursuit of it, like wild animals pursuing their prey." That is why their leaders are obsessed with security - they don't want anyone to get their hands on the objects of their greed. On an international level, they go to massive lengths to arm themselves and build walls around their wealth.
But neither can the one in dire poverty give glory to God. His clothes get wet and cold in the rain and he must fight with others just to get enough to eat. His life is focused on survival. His heart has little room for God and for prayer.
So Jesus at the G-8 conference would strive to persuade these powerful leaders to use their God-given power for good purposes, not to protect the way society is currently structured. He would try to tell them that all that the rich and powerful possess is on loan to them.
Any person who owns something believes he has the sole right to determine how that thing is used. Jesus would tell those people that what they have is not really theirs - it is on loan to them. God gives them those loans of money, land and power and how they use them determine what sort of people they are. If they use them only for themselves and do not share them, they will be judged harshly on the last day.
This is especially true of world leaders. If they use what they have been given to build a world that is fairer, more peaceful, and where wealth and resources are evenly distributed, then they can rejoice forever in God's kingdom.
But if they do so, most likely, they will be rejoicing with a different group of people than those they partied with on earth. In heaven, they will party with the forgotten ones, the people who couldn't afford a Lexus or a winter in Palm Springs. They will party with those who used the few talents they had to do good for others. They will spend eternity with those who knew how to share.
So, the G-8 conference is a spiritual meeting. The leaders will reveal their own spirituality by how far they go in giving to others, in protecting the environment and in setting the ground rules for a fairer world.
In the 1960s, world leaders proclaimed a decade of development.
The situation is more urgent now. We need a major turning around and we need it today. We need to build a more just and peaceful world today - not tomorrow.
That's what Jesus would do.
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.