Outline Catholic teaching on wealth and poverty
Christians believe that wealth is a gift from God which can be used for either good or evil, so in itself is not a bad thing, it is our attitude towards wealth and material possessions that is at the heart of the issue. Consequently having the wrong attitude towards money can lead you away from God and therefore Christians should only gain money in a moral and lawful way, as it is a gift from God and not theirs along.
Jesus taught his disciples in the parable of the ‘Rich Young Man’ (Mark 10:21-23) the difficulties the rich face in entering the kingdom of God as ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God’ since they cannot give their worldly possessions to the poor in return for all the treasures in heaven.
Furthermore Jesus’ teachings (Matthew 6:24) show that you cannot serve both money and God, ‘either he will hate one or love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other’ as will you be dedicated to seeking more wealth than religion. Although money itself can be a good thing it is the quest for greed and power through wealth that causes the separation between us and the God since instead of being dedicated to God we are dedicated the for goal of having a vast sums of money.
An example of this type of person in contemporary is a wealthy businessman, whom already rich seeks for more money by destroying other rival companies which although gives him more money it shows his lack of compassion for his fellow brothering. However since there are some people who look for money to help better there lives such as a poor family their quest for wealth is justified since they are the needy and Jesus always told us to help the needy e. g. the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The parable of the sheep and goats (Matthew 25:31-46) tells Christians of the final judgement which describes Jesus separating the righteous, on the right, who ‘feed him when he was hungry, clothed him when he was naked, sheltered him when he was a stranger and quenched him of thirst when he was thirsty’ and will have eternal life in heaven, from the sinful on the left who will have eternal punishment in hell, like a Shepard separating his sheep’s from goats.
From this Christians can gather the knowledge that Jesus will judge us on our compassion towards our fellow brother and sister when judgement day arrives. And for those whom have hurt or manipulated a fellow brother or sister in the quest for wealth they will be condemned to hell since it is immoral to hurt someone else to better yourself since Jesus told us treat our neighbour the way we would like our neighbours to treat us which is the golden rule in Christianity and life that we must follow to be faithful Christians.
Furthermore from studying these stories and parables I believe Jesus teaches us about our responsibility for our fellow man as he was sent to earth to suffer death on the cross to save mankind from the evils of sin and not to condemn the world (John 3:17,18) and therefore we should all look on ourselves to change our ways if we want to be accepted into the Kingdom of heaven and not believe Jesus condemned us all which small of the rich believe since they find it difficult to give up all their possession for treasures in the Kingdom of heaven meaning that the doubt if heaven exists since they are not prepared to give the wealth to the poor like the rich young man.
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