Tuesday, August 21, 2018
The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, listened to His teaching, and they ridiculed Him. So Jesus said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God. – Luke 16:14-15
Money, that human invention that makes more efficient the bartering of goods and services, seems to have become a living entity in itself. Money transforms itself into power, status, influence, even a life-defining god that dictates the rules, values, priorities, hopes, even salvation of a lesser kind. Money has become part-and-parcel of what it means to be human, for some it defines our worth, for others, it represents our desperation.
The Pharisees are portrayed as sticklers for keeping the details of the Law, yet seem to be oblivious to quality of spirit that the Law attempted to define. Then here, almost as an aside, Luke characterizes the Pharisees as “lovers of money“. Christ seemed to speak of heavenly virtues, ideals that seem so counter to the business of the world. They though Him foolish this rabbi who taught a new form of economics for the people, the economics of simplicity, charity, sharing of resources for the sake of all. So they ridiculed Him … and I find even today … those whose lives are filled with the love of money ridicule those who choose seek not prosperity and security in the gleam of gold and silver, but rather in the ways of living taught by Christ our Lord.
Some preach a prosperity-gospel that appears to be a rationalization of self-indulgence, even to the point of being evidence of God’s approval. But I believe Christ preached a community-gospel, one that shared God’s blessings for the sake of those of us in need. He believed in the nobility of the widow’s small coins but He cast out the moneychangers using Go for profit and for the building of lavish temples. He believed in sharing what you have, no meager as it might, even a few loaves of bread and a couple fish, so that the community might learn the economics of sharing and how their security rested in the Love they shared in the Household of God. He believed in paying taxes to Caesar but not surrendering one’s soul to Caesar. He believed in traveling through life with no more than one needs so that one could share with others God’s Providence.
Oh, there will be many who if they read these words would call me “foolish”. They might reject me, almost surely they would ridicule me. But these devout “lovers of Money” … did the same to Christ.
Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz