I have not read one quote from Pope Francis that would indicate he is asking Mr. Thomas or anyone to sell all of his stocks and piled-up wealth so as to redistribute it to the poor. While early Christians did share their goods with each other, the church has never condemned personal wealth. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ would ask Christians to be good stewards of the resources that God has entrusted to them.
I do think the Holy Father would welcome an honest discussion of the reality of imbalances created by present economic structures. There never has been more wealth in America, yet there seems to be an ever-widening inequity between rich and poor. Pope Francis admits he is not an economist, and while some have criticized his economic analysis as inadequate, as a pastor I believe he is asking us to enter a sincere dialogue as to what obligation we might have to the poor among us.
Do our faith and the Gospel values that Christians profess have anything to say about the economic inequities that exist in our world today? Should we be looking beyond our own selfish desires for a comfortable retirement to focus on those issues that are related to the common good?
The true joy that Pope Francis has in living the Gospel call to “love one another” offers to us all, especially those who are poor and needy, a future filled with hope.
The Rev. Jerry Ragan
(The writer is pastor of St. Mary on the Hill Catholic Church.)