Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

(Haggai 1:1-8; Luke 9:7-9)

President Obama has recently called for huge federal outlays to create jobs for Americans. His strategy is straightforward. Providing work will stimulate national spending that hopefully will revert into tax dollars to pay back the government. We can see a similar rationale in the Book of the prophet Haggai from which the first reading is taken today.

In the passage the people complain that now is not the time to rebuild the Temple. They were experiencing such need that they felt there was no surplus for undertaking a giant construction project. The prophet meanwhile counters with a contrary economic argument. The cause of the people’s troubles is precisely not having a fitting place of worship so that God might bless the nation with prosperity. In the end Haggai’s view wins out.

Nevertheless we can be wary of such schemes as the one the President is now proposing. They may only deepen the national debt. Yet at least the government is showing concern for the unemployed which its part of its responsibility. God should be pleased. Still it cannot be said that His pleasure will necessarily mean a return to economic prosperity.