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22 September 2013
posted by Canon Dakin on 26-09-2013

Some of you will have heard of Ronaldo, the footballer who once played for Manchester United. He is presently playing for a Spanish club. It was rumoured that he was tempted to return to Manchester. He has been persuaded to sign a five year contract to remain in Spain at a salary, after tax, of £288K a week - more than twice the British Prime Minister will earn in a year. Wth endorsements and sponsorships he will be banking more than £300,000 every week. That’s a sum to challenge the imagination.  Put it side by side with bankers’ bonuses, BBC redundancy payments, industrial executive incomes and you uncover a culture which is dominated by money.

We all indulge in dreams. Do you ever dream of winning the lottery? I do, especially when its a double roll-over. I have it all planned - how I would spend it. Would it make me happy? There would be satisfaction in giving to certain projects but it’s proverbial that money doesn’t buy happiness.

Mention of happiness reminds me of St Thomas Aquinas, possibly the greatest of theologians. When he comes to dealing with morals he doesn’t give a list of do’s and dont’s: he simply asks: What will make you really happy?  The answer he gives is what makes you really human.  To discover the life style that would fulfill our human nature, according to our different circumstances, is not alwys easy. St Thomas says that we need to pray about it bcause the perfect human person is Christ and as far as imitating him is concerned he said only one thing that applies to everyone: Love one another as I have loved you. And where the well off are concerned he gave us the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Instead of indifference, there should have been care. In a society where some have more than they need and others have not enough there should be a rebalamcing. Pope Francis has said: Money is for persons and the only proper use for it is in sharing.  This goes beyond the individual into the broader society. You know of the situation in Syria. On Thursday an indignant Aid worker was speaking on Radio 4. She had been living with a family displaced from Syria. At the camp where they arrived the tents had run out. The family was left to collect what bits of plastic they could to provide a shelter for themselves and the speaker was pointing out that some of the rich countries who had promised aid had not in fact delivered even one tenth of what  they had promised. She was angry.

Pope Francis has also said: ‘We ought to sharpen our awareness of our duty of solidarity with the poor to which charity leads us. This solidarity means that we make our own their problems and their struggles’.  It all adds up to the fact that a surplus of cash in the bank is not simply to be reviewed with pleasure, it carries responsibility.

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