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The Pastor's Pen

August 14 & 21, 2022
The Foundation
Father Tom Wilson, Pastor
 
A priest colleague from a third-world country has had assignments in schools in multiple countries. While he was in the United States during an election cycle, he remarked to me that U.S. politicians were vastly different than in his home country and other places he has served. His perception is that in most poorer countries, people sought political power to benefit themselves and their families economically; while in the U.S., many people used their economic resources to gain public office and the power that went with it. He acknowledged that these were not universal truths that applied to everyone in the political realm, but he thought that the generalizations were accurate.
 
Whether accurate or not, it does reveal two of the biggest temptations any human faces: the temptation to abandon God and principles for money and for power. Few of us are tempted to grasp for high office, but all of us are tempted with enrichment of power in our own little worlds. Most of us know that we will never be “mega-rich,” but we are all tempted by the lure of having more than we have now. It is the fallen world with an enemy that prowls around trying to convince us we need more of something other than God to “make us happy,” “get what we deserve,” or to “make a difference.”
 
Our readings on August 13/14 show us examples of the quest for money and power, and the division and injustice that can happen when we are blinded by it. Jeremiah’s opponents want power, so they tell the authorities whatever they want to hear. Jeremiah refuses to do that. He makes everyone uncomfortable with the truth. They want to put him into the dungeon and prefer to see him dead. Their quest for power and influence brings a desire to put an innocent man to death. Jesus announces that He, and His truth, will create division even in families because some will choose Him and some will not.
 
In a world filled with temptations to gain or keep power, people can easily lose their moral foundation. I have been told more than once by people seeking political office that they need to delay doing the right thing to make sure they get elected. Then, they can “do something about the problem.” It is a charade cloaked in false virtue, an “end justifies the means” mentality, and a recipe for moral decay if there ever was one.
 
Temptations are real, and I suspect, more intense in the world of big bureaucracy and politics than most of us face. However, the call to all of us is the same: fidelity to the principles of truth, honesty, and service; and resisting the temptations of money and power which are the foundation of a society that is breaking. If a foundation of trust is to be restored between those leading and those being led, it can only happen by abandoning the “end justifies the means” mentality that seeks money and power.
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