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Summary: The latest meltdown on Wall Street illustrates that to be just, your intentions AND your actions must correspond to the good.

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Tuesday of 25th week in course

23 Sept 2008

Proverbs 21: 1-6

“Market meltdown. . .wild roller-coaster ride. . .investor lack of confidence. . .flight to safety. . .historic market swing.” Today we read Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.

Did the people at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac sit down one day and say, “let’s do something really evil that will bring world markets to the brink of total collapse?” Did they ask, “how can we destroy our companies?” I don’t think so. I think this Franklin Raines fellow and his conspirators said, “let’s figure out how to delay reporting some of our expenses so we can overreport earnings by $3 billion and get bigger bonuses this year.” Maybe Raines wanted to give money to his church. I don’t know. But I do know this–nobody does evil for the sake of evil. They do evil in order to secure some good. That’s why I think the greatest heresy of our day is the statement: It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you have good intentions. That perversion of the truth gave us Lenin, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Adolph Hitler, Charles Manson, Nine-eleven and the latest market turmoil on Wall Street and across the world.

So, students, let’s get that line out of your vocabulary. If you cheated on a test or homework assignment, you didn’t do it to hurt yourself and your reputation, to destroy the chances of another student to get into Harvard, or to corrupt your conscience so that in ten years you pay to murder your unborn son because he would be an inconvenience. No, you cheated so you’d get a better grade and not have to go to Saturday school or miss the next party. You cheated so your mother and father and brother think well of you.

Jesus pegs the reality here in Luke’s Gospel. How do you get related to Jesus? Not by mouthing the right phrases or memorizing the right Bible verses. You are brother or sister to Jesus, and to us, if you do what Jesus asks. It’s just that simple, and it’s just that hard. Let’s pray at this Eucharistic sacrifice to be changed, to grow, so that we can put Jesus’s commands first in our lives, and seek good by doing good, rather than evil.


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