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2013-05-26 message

posted May 26, 2013, 12:34 PM by St. John's Webmaster

In the epistle reading for Wednesday in the week of the myrrh-bearing women, we find the story of a man named Simon, who, when he “saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me also this power, that any one on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘Your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!’ ” (Acts 8:18-20).

It is interesting to briefly examine how money is seen in the Bible. We see from the above quote that God’s grace is not dependent on money. The very idea goes against our understanding of God as being “good and loving,” as we say in our services. Someone who is good and loving bestows gifts simply because of that goodness and love.

1 Timothy has something to say about money which has become quite often-quoted: “love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). Sometimes that is misquoted as “money is the root of all evil,” but that misses the point. It is the misplaced love that is the evil. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. And the second is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

What does this mean in practical terms where money is concerned? The first commandment means that we should support our Church, that we express financially what God and His Church mean to us. This begins at the local level, making sure that our parish is well cared for, that we can meet our expenses, that our building is in good shape, that we make a plan for the future. And it continues on the larger level, by supporting the ministries of the Church, be they regional (St. Iakovos Retreat Center, Mary and Martha House), national (OCN, OCPM), or international (IOCC, OCMC, Project Mexico).

For the implications of the second commandment, St. John Chrysostom spoke bluntly: “Our Lord’s things they are, from whencesoever we may obtain them. And if we distribute to the needy we shall obtain for ourselves great abundance. And for this it is that God has permitted you to possess much—not that you should spend it in fornication, in drunkenness, in gluttony, in rich clothing, or any other mode of luxury, but that you should distribute it to the needy” (Discourse II). Here, too, we can divide our support into local (like Green Square Meals, the Catherine McAuley Center, the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity) and national (Red Cross or Feed the Children).

May the Lord guide us to grow in His likeness by adding generosity to our virtues.

With love in the risen Christ,
+Fr. Peter