Exorcising business


Exorcising business

Mark 5:1-20. Jesus exorcises a demoniac; the crowd asks Jesus to leave their town afterwards

The 365 Days with the Lord Liturgical Companion of St. Pauls Philippines offers important context why the townsfolk asked Jesus to leave town after He drives an unclean spirit out of a possessed man: the unclean spirits were said to possess swines, then the swines drowned with the unclean spirits. The swines were the primary resource of business for the townsfolk.

The importance of material needs as the foundation of integral human development cannot be understated. Yet, so far, this account, together with the account of merchants doing business in the church might show that Jesus condemns doing business.

Is the conduct of business inherently bad? Perhaps what Jesus is mad about is the notion that the purpose of business is merely to profit; “greed is good”.

Approximately 2022 years later, I think the challenge for us is to perform a “business exorcism” of some sort, to drive away unclean motives in the way we conduct business. The beauty of business is that it could be viable and fair system of exchange, a mechanism that can produce win-win scenarios among stakeholders.

Frankly, I do not understand (and perhaps may never significantly understand) spiritual exorcisms, akin to the miracles of Jesus. But the invitation seems to be for us to cleanse and renew our view of business and our professions.

And the virtue that could exorcise us from greed is temperance.

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