Who do you discard? Just a short while ago, Pope Francis posed the question “Who will be discarded next?” when discussing the economy.It can be so easy to discard others. In fact, we may not even realize it. Those clothes that were on sale? Where were they made, and what did the workers earn? My precious morning cup(s) of coffee? Who grew it and were they justly compensated? Those children racing across the border — do I consider their human dignity, and from what they are escaping, or do I worry about what they will do to me, and how they will interfere with my life?
Woe to those who plan iniquity,
and work out evil on their couches;
In the morning light they accomplish it
when it lies within their power.
They covet fields, and seize them;
houses, and they take them;
They cheat an owner of his house,
a man of his inheritance.
Lest we think God does not care about economic sins, we need to hear more clearly the words of Isaiah. The cheating mentioned by Isaiah that those who are planning iniquity are focusing upon is economic. Seizing fields, houses and inheritances. Cheating. Their focus is upon stuff, and not only that, but stuff at the expense of others. The stuff mentioned in the first reading comes only by discarding others.
It is not a stretch for me to see parallels with today. Pope Francis has certainly emphasized the growing economic disparity in a way that has gotten the attention of the world. There is this great disparity — and we will be held accountable. We can certainly see that people are being thrown away. We do not need to look far to see those who are plotting evil on their couches.
When we challenge those who plot evil on their couches, it does not always result in happiness. We can be persecuted. But persecution was part of the life of Jesus, and it could part of our life too. For Jesus, it meant getting out of the presence of the Pharisees. For us, it may come when we challenge others because of our faith. We are asked to think about what we plan for the day.
Jesus does not discard people, he gathers them up, like a mother hen gathering her brood. He desires to save everyone. He equates the ways in which we discard others with the ways in which we discard Jesus. He reminds us how precious even one human being is. We are challenged to be like Jesus, gathering people into our arms? Will you discard or gather today?