In the Gospel reading for the Feast of Pope Pius X Jesus tells us, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
Deuteronomy tells us, “Set a “מֶלֶךְ” over you whom the Personal Name, your Almighty Judge chooses. Someone from among your own kind you may set over you as “מֶלֶךְ;” Do not set over you a stranger, no kin of yours. He will not have a great number of horses; nor make his people go back again; the Personal Name told you, ‘Do not go back that way again.’ Do not accumulate silver and gold.”
Walter Brueggemann tells us in a video what Pharaoh represents in Jewish culture. He reduces the Jewish people into being a commodity. In the video, Walter Brueggemann relates how the Jewish people accept Torah before they know what the commands are. They understand how God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light. The choice is between staying where they are, in a desert with 100 plus degree, dry temperatures, accepting Torah, or going back to Egypt. Part of the command is not to return to Egypt. When we accept being a commodity, we return to Egypt. When we allow our leaders to accumulate vast amounts of silver and gold at our expense, we return to Egypt.
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Personal Name, the Almighty Judge of those who quarrel with God. “שַׁלַּח אֶת-עַמִּי,” that they may hold a feast for me in the wilderness.” Pharaoh answered, “Who is the Personal Name, that I should listen to him and אֶת-יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא אֲשַׁלֵּחַ?” They replied, “The אֱלֹהֵי of the Hebrews has come to meet us. Let us go a three days’ journey in the wilderness, that we may offer sacrifice to the Personal Name, our Almighty Judge so he does not strike us with the plague or the sword.” The “מֶלֶךְ” of Egypt answered them, “Why, Moses and Aaron, do you make the people neglect their work? Off to your labors!”
“מֶלֶךְ” means “king,” and “מֶלֶךְ” is the name of an ancient fertility god of the fertile crescent. When we sacrifice our young men to the god of war, and when we sacrifice our children to the leadership of the market, we engage in the pagan practice of worshiping “מֶלֶךְ.” The name of another fertility god was בעל. בעל became Hermes in Greek, and Mercury in Latin. Mercury was the god of merchants and thieves. When we beg to allow free markets to control our house, Econos/οίκος, we appeal to Mercury, Hermes, and בעל.
Hebrew does not have in subjunctive tense. They have no way of saying, “Let my people…” Moses and Aaron tell Pharaoh to send them out…to do liturgy at Sinai. The purpose for the vacation is to have a vacation. Only around 10% of the US population are in unions. Employers decide how many work days the typical American will have and they are not much interested in their employees celebrating Sabbath. In communist Russia, the typical worker has 40 vacation days each year. Americans have 15 vacation days. Americans have among the fewest vacation days of any industrialized nation on the planet. Pharaoh is in charge in our nation.
Since the conservatives came into power, the percentage of income going to the poorest 50% of the population has shrunk from 27% of all income to 19% and that figure is dropping. Pharaoh is taking full advantage of his power and now demands, people find their own straw. This results in 1,238,490, or 1.2 million workplace injuries each year and 5,000 deaths. The conservative party thinks ketchup is a vegetable; as a result, obesity is rising in America. This is expected to be the first time in US history life-hood expectancy drops. Some 50 million people live in food-insecure households, including 17.2 million children. Of these individuals, 12.2 million adults and 5.4 million children lived in households with very low food security. Because of the despair this situation is causing, America has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s population in prisons.
We look at the mural at our Cathedral in Reno Nevada. At the head of the mural is the Omer, the Word, the Lamb of God, atop the four rivers of life. To his left is John the Baptist, whose father preached that God saved us for service to God. To the right is Our Blessed Pope Pius X and a working couple who epitomize what the Catholic church used to stand for, and can stand for again. Pope Pius X preaches against the Modernism of the modern conservative movement.
This is part 1of a series. Please click here for part 2