Toyota has a new television commercial in which the line, "saved by zero," is sung over and over. Since I have no idea what the kids listen to anymore, except my own - and yes, what they listen to scares me, just like my punk albums scared my parents - I was not certain if Toyota was digging into some cultural Zeitgeist, or creating one of their own. A quick search of YouTube directed me to the song and video by The Fixx. Nevertheless, the idea of "saved by zero" scares me more than any Heavy Metal album. I know that this car company is not making some sort of nihilistic statement - "nothing can save you" - but the idea that 0% interest will save you is...wait, I think it is a nihilistic statement! Even granting the catchy and tuneful hook, and the hyperbole of advertising, the whole idea that our goods, and more of them, at cheaper and cheaper rates, will save us, or grant us happiness, or make us better than the next guy, is at the heart of this scandalous economic scenario we are now facing. A pox on Greedy Business and a pox on both Democrats and Republicans and a pox on all of us who desire more and more stuff to make us secure and happy. I do not want to see anyone suffer financial hardship or the loss of a job, but at times like these, it is so nice to have the Apostle Paul to draw on, to put our minds at ease, as he does in the second reading for the Twenty-Eighth Sunday in ordinary time: Brothers and sisters: I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen (Phil. 4:12-14, 19-20). Let Pope Benedict XVI exegete this passage, even though he was speaking to the economic turmoil in the world: "money vanishes, it is nothing;" "the only solid reality is the word of God;" and "he who builds only on visible and tangible things like success, career and money, builds the house of his life on sand." Whatever our economic situation at this time, let us make certain we reach out and share with those in need, those who have less, and most profoundly share with Paul "the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need" (Phil. 4:12). No matter what our place in the world - whether incarcerated as Paul was when writing this letter, or a supposed financial Master of the Universe - what we truly need can only be found in Christ, for "my God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:19). You can put all of your stock in that. John W. Martens
Saved By Zero?