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And the master commended them, saying…

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Dec 20, 2011

In my home town, thieves are very active in the copper business. The metal has risen in value so much that the robbers go into empty homes and strip them of their copper piping.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, tubas and sousaphones are disappearing rapidly from high schools. Apparently the area’s banda music—dance tunes anchored by the tuba—is so popular now that tuba players can make more than $100 per hour. The tubas themselves can bring up to $2,000 when sold illegally.

And throughout Europe, but especially in France, rhinoceros horns have been stolen so frequently from museums and private collections that zookeepers now fear for their living animals. It seems that in China, the horns are ground up and sold as an aphrodisiac, especially to cure male impotence. A single horn can be sold for as much as $300,000. (Given the composition of the horns, taking such concoctions is equivalent to chewing on your hair or biting your nails.)

So what do we learn from all this? Well, we learn something about how quickly unfettered markets adjust to economic realities, certainly. And from the rhinoceros horns we also learn there is a sucker born every minute.

But I think we also learn something deeper, that is, something spiritual: For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light ( Lk 16:8).

Steal souls, not tubas.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Dec. 20, 2011 11:33 PM ET USA

    Let those who have the courage seize the prize.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Dec. 20, 2011 7:09 PM ET USA

    Bishop Sheen used to say the Good Thief stole heaven. All he did was ask.