The Price of Admission

JMJ

The Readings for the Memorial of Pope St Pius, X
Tuesday in the 20th Week of Ordinary Time (B2)

Multi autem erunt primi novissimi, et novissimi primi.
Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first

This is one of those verses like the song of the Magnificat, that needs to leave us trembling more. We sing the Magnificat without so much as batting an eye:

He hath shewed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.


And, perhaps, if we fail to pay attention, we imagine we are the hungry, or the humble. Perhaps we think we are the Last.

As the kids now (rightly) say, Check your privilege.

Christians in this country whine because we can’t get a Macy*Mart employee to say “Merry Christmas”. Despite the fact that she’s earning $7 an hour and has no benefits because she’s part time and it’s the Holidays so come 5 January she’ll be unemployed. “Anti Christian bias,” we’ll say as we ask for a refund.

We may use our funds to purchase other products, never mindful of the near slave-like conditions that exist in those other countries. I’m no fan of the current administration, but their erection of tariff walls means that some of those slave will have to get laid off, and some of those production lines will have to move back to the states where, at least, the workers will get insurance, we hope. Free trade only benefits us, it’s rarely ever been free for folks outside of the First World.

I used to self-identify as a member of a persecuted minority. But I’ve not been able to justify that since a book that came out in the early 90s pointed out that, as someone living in NYC (and later SF) I was at the upper end of the finances in that persecuted group. And, further, I was actively or passively involved in oppressing others in the same group by virtue of their race, class, or geographic location. What did I care about Egypt as long as I could get their cotton sheets for cheap? We formed our own corridors of power and ran whole industries by virtue of our fiscal strength. This was true in the Church and outside the Church.

Median household income in Kentucky: 46,659
Median household income in SF: $78,378
Median household income in Mexico: $11,700
Gaza: 9,288
Manila: $5,010 

The first will be last.

You might want to say that this has to do with sinners, and prostitutes being in the kingdom before Pharisees, and so on, but the whole passage is about rich versus poor.

I don’t really know how this works, but there are no camels in America. So we might be missing the point. 

But I think for all of us it will be hard to get into the Kingdom.



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