I am one of those rare things these days.
A Mass goer!
Of course, due to my illness and then Covid-19 I haven’t actually attended Mass in person for a year. But I have enjoyed travelling around the country on my laptop on a Sunday morning picking and choosing where to attend Mass.
Now I’m what you’d call a bad Catholic. And I aspire to being Christian but I’m not sure I’m good at that either.
But every now and then I hear something at Mass that reminds me of goodness.
Today was one of them.
It was the first reading and it was from the Book of Exodus.
God was lecturing Moses.
And this is what he said:
“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him: you must not demand interest from him.
“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.”
I heard that and I thought, banks.
And I thought, Irish banks have just decided not just to hit us with among the highest interest rates in Europe, but to charge us for leaving our money with them.
And then I wondered, if any banker listened to that lesson this morning, did it make him or her feel a little bit uncomfortable.
The sad thing is, it probably didn’t.
Yes I know banking is a business.
But when I look back, at the salaries paid to the banking chiefs before the 2008 collapse I feel like throwing up. ‘We have to pay those salaries to attract the best people,” we were told. And then the “best people” made a hames of it.
Then there’s the tracker mortgage scandal where banks literally robbed people, forced some out of their homes and made life miserable for thousands.
You will gather, I’m not a major of the banks.
But I would love the words from today’s lesson to be sent to every executive in every bank in Ireland, requesting a response.
Do they think God is wrong?
They probably do.