Thursday, February 13, 2020
Parables from a Residential Monk #6
Parable of Money
Money has no value until we attach ours to it.
It’s not what we have that counts; but who we are that compels what we do with what we have.
Jesus said, “What you say and do betray who I am to you. If you really love Me, you will pay attention to Me and then say and do what I have said and done. Loving Me is loving like Me with grace, mercy, and forgiveness. How you treat others, everyone being a part of My family, is really how you are treating Me. When you care for the hungry, homeless, imprisoned, alienated, needy, deprived, underprivileged, poor and persecuted, you are caring for Me. What you do and don’t do for others, you do and don’t do for Me.”
Graphically, Francis explained how we’re loving Jesus by loving others when asked why he cared for lepers and offered holy kisses to them: “When I kiss a leper, I’m kissing Jesus.”
John was Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Belvidere, New Jersey near the Delaware Water Gap.
Along Route 46 near the church was Hot Dog Johnny’s.
It was a popular fast food restaurant.
Johnny was a member of the church.
Whenever Johnny and John got together, Johnny would recite the Ten Commandments and then say, “Pastor, I have never broken one of them.”
Aside from most pastors agreeing with the last person that they’ve talked to like bad sentences ending in prepositions for job security, Johnny gave a lot of money to the church and, well, you know how that goes.
Anyway, same routine whenever they got together.
One day – it must have been a bad day for the pastor like too many days when parishioners transfer their pathologies to pastors because they know their pastors have bills to pay and can’t afford to be too righteously offensive/defensive – after Johnny’s recitation and claim, John blurted, “O.K., Johnny. I know you know the Ten Commandments and you always tell me how you’ve never broken any of them. But how about this? Jesus said to give away what we don’t need. You’re a very wealthy man. What do you think about that?”
Johnny answered, “Jesus could not have meant that.”
Jesus could not have meant loving by concrete caring for less advantaged people is the same thing as loving Him.
Jesus could not have meant churches that store treasures in endowments while people within spitting distance of their pews and pulpits are starving and needing help now are no heaven good.
Jesus could not have meant God likes the rainbow of His family’s diversity infinitely more than exclusively black, brown, red, white, and yellow churches and that churches of one color, class, and culture resemble cultic tribes more than what He had in mind for His existential body called the Church.
Jesus could not have meant sex is best within the bounds of marriage between a woman and a man.
Jesus could not have meant all life is sacred from womb to tomb.
Jesus could not have meant…
Obviously, Jesus could not have meant the red quotes in the Bible; because most churches have watered them down or rationalized them away from their lives and ministries.
Getting back to John who tried to help Johnny with what Jesus meant, he cautioned seminarians that he mentored, “For God’s sake, don’t let academics ruin you. I will pray every day that you don’t separate yourself from God and His people by degrees.”
Yes, Forrest, it happens.
Money, like everything else in our lives, has no value until we attach ours to it.
Values esteem God or sculpt gods.
Blessings and Love!