A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Churches and Money

It was not the first brouhaha about places of worship and financial shenanigans and it would certainly not be the last.

In today’s Gospel (John 2:13-22), our Lord forcibly ejects moneychangers and other commercial operations out of the Temple.

Many people often criticize the financial operations of churches and many of these people invoke this famous incident from the Gospel.

This very week, a United States Senator is leading an inquiry into the financial affairs of some Christian organizations whose leaders enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle. Indeed, this United States Senator has made much of the comfortable lifestyle these leaders enjoy.

For many, these disagreements about churches and money are really struggles for power.

Some even look upon Churches and religious institutions like any business in the marketplace.

Our Lord’s focus, however, was much different: his focus was prayer, not power, and he was very much opposed to confusing the house of God with a marketplace.

Yes, like a business or a family, Churches and religious institutions need resources in order to maintain themselves and to advance their God-given mission and these resources need to be obtained and utilized prudently and with a certain accountability, but we dare not let ourselves slip down the slippery slope of treating the Church like a marketplace or only like a business.

Whether we are stewards of the Church’s resources or simply concerned parishioners, our primary focus must be on the mission Christ gave the Church: to proclaim the Gospel and to make his loving and sanctifying presence felt.