What words hurt an unemployed person



The exploitation of workers is a mortal sin

Thursday May 24, 2018

(from: L'Osservatore Romano, weekly edition in German, No. 28, July 13th 2018)


The "injustice to exploit the world of work is a mortal sin - and that is not what I say, but Jesus!" Pope Francis accused with harsh words that "even today, in order to save the big capitals, people are made unemployed". He addressed those who are attached to wealth directly: "Woe to you who exploit the people, who exploit the world of work, who pay black money, who do not pay pension contributions, who do not give vacation", for you are not "in the state of the grace of God", said the Pope on Thursday, May 24th, at the mass in Santa Marta. He urged "to pray and repent", not for the poor, but for the rich servants of these idols. The Pope celebrated this mass especially "for the noble people of China". At the beginning he recalled that "today the church is celebrating Mary, Help of Christians, and the feast of Our Lady of Sheshan - Mary, Help of Christians - is being celebrated in Shanghai."

For his reflection on the question of social injustice - it is not a question of being a communist or a trade unionist, but of following the gospel - Francis went from »Epistle of James (5: 1-6) from which we heard in the First Reading: He speaks of wealth - of how a Christian should act and deal with wealth in the face of wealth ”. The apostle "proceeds with determination," said Francis. “He doesn't mince his words, he says things emphatically: 'You rich people just cry and complain about the misery that will hit you. Your wealth is rotting and your clothes are being eaten by moths. Your gold and silver are rusting; their rust will stand as a witness against you and consume your flesh like fire. You are still collecting treasures in the last few days. ”“ According to the Pope, this is a “very expressive, very expressive and also hard” text. Incidentally, "Jesus did not lag behind: 'Woe to you, you rich men!" Is what the first woe after the Beatitudes says in the version of the Gospel of Luke«. "Woe to you, rich men!" It says there. But if, according to Francis, "someone gave such a sermon today, then the next day you would read in the newspapers: 'This priest is a communist!'"

But "poverty is at the center of the Gospel," said the Pope, and "the sermon on poverty is at the center of Jesus' preaching", because: "Blessed are the poor" is the first beatitude ". This is even “the identity card, the identity card with which Jesus introduces himself when he returns to the synagogue in his hometown, Nazareth:“ The Spirit of the Lord rests on me. He sent me to bring good news, the Gospel to the poor, good news to the poor. '"" In history, "said Francis," we have always had the weakness of trying to read this sermon on poverty delete, believing that it is something social, something political. No! That is pure gospel, that is pure gospel ”. It is important to ask "the why for this harsh sermon against wealth". Jesus even went so far as to say: "Woe to you, rich people."

Even wealth, according to the Pope, "is a gift from God, but the Lord scourges those rich who are attached to money, as James says today" in the passage from his letter that forms the first reading. "Mainly because wealth is idolatry," explained the Pope. And "Jesus himself says that one cannot serve two masters: either one serves God or one serves riches". Wealth therefore belongs to the category of "gentlemen". Hence the direct question is: “Are you loyal to God or are you loyal to that other Lord?” But “that is not possible,” explained Francis, “because wealth is 'imperious' in the sense that it takes hold of you and nothing more lets go and violates the first commandment. He is idolatry. ”Once he even“ heard a missionary say about these things in a sermon: 'All idols are made of gold' ”. Yes, added the Pope, "that is an exaggeration, but he was right: it is seduction by wealth, idolatry". As for idolatry, “What did the people do when Moses was on Mount Sinai to receive the law of God? A golden calf was made to worship '.

"Wealth gives security," the Pope confessed. Hence some might prefer him to that God “whom one does not know what he will do tomorrow. Today he speaks, tomorrow he is silent: He is silent and we do not know how God treats us ”. In this respect, "wealth is the 'God' that we have at hand in order to live quietly." The first point reads: "Jesus, like James, scourges wealth because it is idolatry, and it is clear that he means those people who are attached to wealth and allow themselves to be dominated by it".

Second point: Wealth "is idolatry, but it also violates the second commandment because it destroys the harmonious coexistence of us humans". And in his letter "James speaks about it and says to the rich: 'But the wages of the workers who mowed your fields'". When one hears these words, Francis goes on to say, "someone could reply: 'But, Father, this is not the apostle James, this is a trade unionist!' No, it is the apostle James who speaks under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit" .

The Pope reread the words from the letter: “But the wages of the workers who mowed your fields, the wages you withheld from them, cries out - this wages cries - to heaven; the cries of those who have brought in your harvest reach the ears of the Lord of the Heavenly Armies. "All this, he explained," destroys the harmony, our togetherness as brothers and sisters, it violates the second commandment: That is why wealth destroys life, he destroys the soul «.

"To cling to wealth" is wrong, said the Pope. And he invited people to think “of that parable of Jesus”, which tells of the rich man and poor Lazarus: “That rich man led a life in luxury: festivities, a luxurious life, splendid clothes. And there was one who had nothing: the dogs licked that poor man's ulcers ”. But “the rich didn't care. He knew who that was - this is evident from the parable - but he celebrated there with his friends and loved the festivals, clinging to his wealth ”. Because, as Francis emphasized, "wealth removes us from harmony with our brothers and sisters, from charity; it makes us egoists". Moreover, "what James says today was also said by the prophet Isaiah when he spoke of the sacrifices that are pleasing to God: 'Righteousness, this is the sacrifice I want, righteousness to your servants'" ". And with James it sounds again: "The wages of the workers who mowed your fields".

"It seems very topical, this subject," continued the Pope. "Here in Italy, too, people are becoming unemployed in order to save the big capital": an approach that "violates the second commandment". And to those "who do that" one must say: "Woe to you!" But, according to the Pope, "I am not saying that, but Jesus". Yes, »woe to you who exploit the people, who exploit the work, who pay black money, who do not pay pension contributions, who do not give vacation. Woe to you! ”Because“ making 'deductions', cheating with regard to payment, the salary is sin: it is sin ”. And it is of little use to say: "Father, I go to mass every Sunday and I go to that Catholic club and I am very Catholic and I pray this and that novena" if you do not give the workers the right wages pay. And “this injustice is a mortal sin, you are not in the state of the grace of God. That is not what I say, "repeated Francis," that is what Jesus says, that is what the apostle James says ". And "that is why wealth removes you from the second commandment, from charity".

"So wealth takes us away from the first commandment, like that rich man who only thought of expanding his barns because he had many things and didn't know what to do with them." But "he also removes us from the second commandment, like the rich - celebrate festivals every day, but he was not interested in those who were outside - or like those who do not pay the right wages." The Pope added, however, that he would like to "say a third thing: wealth is so seductive that it makes us slaves". So “you are not free in the face of wealth; to be free from riches, you must distance yourself and pray to the Lord ", knowing that" if the Lord has given you riches, it is to give it to others, to do much good for others in His name to do". But "wealth can seduce us, and if we succumb to this seduction we are slaves of wealth".

"I believe that today it will be good for all of us, whom the Lord has given the grace to celebrate the Eucharist together, to pray a little and to repent a little, not for the poor but for the rich" so Francis concluded. Yes, "for the rich who are not free, for the enslaved rich, for the free rich is generous, he knows that God gave wealth to give to others, and that is a great man." But »the enslaved rich who are swimming in money and want more and more tomorrow - even at the price of exploiting their neighbors; even at the price of worshiping an idol - are slaves'. "Therefore, praying and repenting for the rich will do us very good."