Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This is the nucleus of a homily, as told by a learned and wise professor and priest.
Amos condemns the complacency of the rich who seek only their own comfort. In his parable about the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus echos Amos, exhorting those who have to share with those who have not.
We all accept the wisdom of this exhortation, but we also know how difficult it is to implement it in justice and equality. Take for example, the economic systems of socialism and capitalism. We all believe in the generous distribution of goods among all people, and foremost among the needy. But we are equally aware of the necessity to first produce and hord the goods that are to be shared and distributed among the many.
Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered some grains of wheat. She called her neighbors and said, “If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?”
And she did. The wheat grew tall and ripened into a golden grain. “Who will help me reap my wheat?” asked the little red hen.
And she did. At last it came time to bake the bread. “Who will help me bake the bread?” asked the little red hen.
She baked five loaves and held them up for her neighbors to see. They all wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the little red hen said, “No, I can eat the five loaves myself.”
And they painted “unfair” picket signs and marched round and round the little red hen, shouting obscenities.
When the government agent came, he said to the little red hen, “You must not be greedy.”
”But I earned the bread,” said the little red hen.
”Exactly,” said the agent. “That is the wonderful free enterprise system. But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide their product with the idle.”
And they lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, “I am grateful. I am grateful.”
But her neighbors wondered why she never again baked any more bread.
This is not a somewhat oblique profession of faith in the capitalist system. The story shows that the answer is neither here nor there, that it is neither capitalist nor socialist. Justice and peace will never be the fruit or result of a particular social system. Social systems have a perverted tendency of taking over the human person and to become its owner. In fact, they reflect a much deeper and even more perverted tendency of the human person itself. We want to be our own masters, we consider ourselves as owners of our life and existence, as something we earn and manufacture.
The great societal and moral questions of our day cannot be solved by either the individual or a given system, if we are not willing to accept the one fundamental truth about the human person which is that human life and existence are a share of God’s own life, that they are gratuitously given and entrusted to us as treasure to be shared and challenge to be met.
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Saturday, March 16, 2013
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Date: Tue Nov 19 10:31:50 2013
Location: Lindenhurst, NY USA
When I was a child, The little red hen, was one of my favorite stories. Too bad, others did not read and appreciate the wisdom of this "childs story"
"A little child will lead them" ????????
Date: Sun Dec 14 2014
From: Vic Biorseth
Changes pursuant to changing the website URL
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