by Father Mike Stubbs
Insider knowledge can lead to quick riches in the stock market.
If employees know that a particular stock will go up in value because of secret information misappropriated from their company, those persons can buy up shares in that stock before the price increases and make a killing. That is why that type of insider trading is illegal.
Is there such a thing as insider knowledge in religion?
After all, we Catholics believe that we have the inside scoop. God has revealed certain truths of faith to us which cannot be known merely by reason or any other means. Being inside the church holds a definite advantage. At the same time, we do not try to keep those truths secret. They are not locked up in the Vatican Archives, hidden away from the public.
On the contrary, we make every effort to let the whole world know about them. In doing that, we are following the final instructions of Jesus: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28: 19-20).
When St. Paul wrote his letters to the Christians in Corinth, some of them had adopted ideas that many scholars believe would eventually develop into the heresy called gnosticism. They prided themselves on knowing spiritual truths that would lead to salvation. Those fortunate enough to possess this wisdom looked down on the others. In its full-blown form, gnosticism would resemble those modern groups called “cults.”
The gnostics wanted to restrict their esoteric knowledge to an elite few and keep it as a secret from the masses. In fact, the word “gnostic” comes from the Greek word “gnosis,” meaning “knowledge.” That reflects its emphasis upon knowledge as opposed to action. According to them, knowledge, rather than God’s grace, would lead to their salvation. Nonetheless, St. Paul writes that “knowledge inflates with pride, but love builds up” (1 Cor 8:1).
In contrast to the gnostics, St. Paul argues that salvation comes from faith in Jesus Christ. This is the true wisdom involved in knowing God’s plan. Unlike the wisdom of the gnostics, which seeks to remain hidden, God’s wisdom yearns to be revealed to the whole world. That is why St. Paul writes that “we speak God’s wisdom, mysterious, hidden.” If at one time, God’s wisdom had been hidden, it now is revealed in Jesus Christ. It is meant for all people. It is even meant for the Gentiles. That is why St. Paul was appointed their apostle.
We are so fortunate that God has shared this wisdom with us. It is not as though we have done anything to deserve it. That is why St. Paul advises humility: “It is due to him (God) that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord’” (1 Cor 1:30, 31).
There is no room for elitism or snobbism in our church.