John Connelly


Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 20, 2015
Wisdom 2.12, 17-20 | Psalm 54 | James 3.16-4.3 | Mark 9.30-37
September 14, 2015

How would you and I respond if our financial system suddenly collapsed?

I think all of us are aware there is always a possibility the greed and corruption in our world could eventually wreak havoc on our civilization.

I am not writing this as a prediction but as an exercise for us to put things in biblical perspective. Jesus was clear: We cannot serve both God and money.

Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. - Mark 9.35

'Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'

Mark 9.35

Yet much of modern culture is based on money. Greed. Exploitation of people and resources. In the book of James, we read, "For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will be wickedness and disorder of every kind."

This passage is worth contemplating. It is an accurate diagnosis of modern culture. The trouble is the "selfish ambition" this Scripture teaches us to avoid, our culture glorifies. It seduces us with the lie that it is all about "me." If we buy into this self-centred world view, it corrupts us from within.

One thing is certain. If our financial system collapsed, it would reveal the terrifying fruits of this corruption. It would show us the reality of our inner life and where we truly stand with God.


The well-known Catholic speaker and writer Matthew Kelly speaks of becoming "the best version of ourselves."

This is the call to allow Christ and his truth to live in us. It is the call to put others ahead of our selfish tendencies and become servants of the human race. It is a call to reject the notion that money, success and power are the meaning of our daily lives.

So have a look within. Ask yourself where you put your hope. Look at the ways "selfish ambition" undermines the call to be the "best version of yourself."

The past week, before I wrote this article, Wall Street was in turmoil. The stock markets caused fear and unrest to spread. So what will happen if this system collapses? Will Christians shine with the light of Christ? Will we share our time, talent and treasure in new and creative ways? Will our parishes be lighthouses of hope? Or, will we simply not be prepared for a tidal wave of human misery?

We need to pray about these things. We need to be prepared for whatever comes. All over the world, societies are in turmoil. In the Middle East, genocide is wiping out Christians and other minorities. Refugees desperately flee their homes trying to save their lives.

Some think, "Hey, nothing like that will ever happen here." That is not what this past century taught us. In a society where we glorify "selfish ambition," it should be no surprise if we witness the collapse of this house built on sand.

Lord Jesus, teach us to become the best version of ourselves. Teach us to use our time, talent and treasure for the benefit of all.