published on July 12, 2014
TO SELL JESUS CHRIST FOR THREE PIECES OF SILVER
We would like to apologize in advance to those of you who may find the image here below offensive or disrespectful. It is absolutely not our intention to do so, as such is solely meant to portray the sad, and yet very profitable, merchandising abuse revolving around Our Lord Jesus Christ in some of today's religious 'enterprises'.
JESUS CHRIST "No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money)." –Gospel of St. Matthew 6:24
Today is a sunny day in the land from where I'm writing to you. God's Mercy Has Made it possible for the birds to sing one more time and for me to be alive one more day, here on earth.
Life is such a gift and yet, we all take it for granted without realizing that each breath we draw is God's Mighty love for us. I looked outside my window and saw that breathtaking mystery called life sustain and move all those people walking down the street. They are all going somewhere in order to do something that I will never know about. We share the same space, breath the same air and drink the same water just as roommates do, and yet we remain strangers.
You and I, too, have places to reach in order to accomplish that something we set out to do in that somewhere we set out to go. Then, there are those times in which we find ourselves deprived from being occupied and left with a stagnant hole inside ourselves called boredom.
My dear friends, boredom brings discomfort with it – not to mention that its presence should be unjustified, so many are the people in need of us and our charity. But, at times, it can provide a useful gift hidden underneath its flatness called reflection.
While feeling that demotivating loss of purpose, have you ever asked yourself "Why am I here on earth?'
The answer is simple but, for many, not an ideal one as its lack of appeal of worldly glitter and material gain makes it a tiny David against the blinding light of Goliath's diamonds and golds.
That answer is that you and I are here on earth to know, love and serve God in order to go back to Him and live forever happily.
When Our Lord came down from the Glory of a Heaven which He admired from His Throne, He Meant to serve His Father by serving us. In all His endless Knowledge, Christ Made the humility of being born into a stable His very trademark, which reached its climax on Mt. Calvary where He Died in the poverty of His humanity and for the sake of others – me and you included.
Never did He ask for money when speaking to the crowds for three days;
Never did He sell a book that He Wrote about Moses;
Never did He charge for each fish He multiplied or for making a crippled man walk;
And certainly, He did not send a bill via mail to those for whom He would Die.
My dear friends, greed is an ugly thing, but when it invades the hearts of those who hide it in the name of some ministry, or church, or sect, then we have trespassed His Meekness to encounter that Christ Holding a whip and throwing the tables upside down.
Many are those who, in the name of the Father in Heaven and His Written Word, have built empires on the weak faith of their victims as well as on their despair. We all know those famous names as we have seen their faces everywhere on TV, on magazines, on the Internet, and on billboards. All of them have founded their own churches in austere pagan temples on which altars Christ Lives not. These buildings contain nothing sacred but the symbols of human pride and the lights of false ambitions. Their altars are no different from those stages upon which the kings and queens of popular idolatry showcase their thirst for self-worship.
These idols have, long ago, lost their ways and forgotten a basic teaching given to us all and for free: 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God'. Such law had been dearly kept intact from the erosion of human darkness throughout all ages, with the exception of our own.
Man's love affair with the world has become so intense, at this time, as to reduce Our Savior to a mass product to be sold on the book shelves of some coffee shop or at the entrance of some 'mega churches' that look like a Vegas Casino. Their hunger for money and power has taken millions of souls away from God, Whose Purity Has been buried in the pestilent dirt of man's perversions.
We've been able to erode even what is Most Incorruptible by putting some monetary value on the Redemptive Flesh of that Child Whose Pure Hands never touched any gold in order to multiply it. How low of us, Christians, to 'make a kill' on the Gift of Salvation for some worthless pieces of paper to be deposited into a bank account or to be used for the purchase of a Ferrari painted with the same color of that Precious Blood. As if this was not enough, these same individuals effortlessly claim that such 'gifts' are God's Blessings for the work they've done for Him and others. They, indeed, falsely believe to be knowing, loving and serving God by taking the fruit of their brothers' long hours of work in a factory, or in a post office somewhere in the middle of nowhere or in a smelly bar while pouring alcohol for some depressed person who lost hope in life.
The same, although at a smaller scale, has been happening among some Catholics. There is a sad reality in the world of the Internet, today, which comprises websites and blogs where various 'ministries', authors, 'apostolates', speakers, 'personalities', apologists and self-professed theologians will not hesitate to build their own mansions upon Mount Calvary.
Although their profit might not even come close to a tenth of what some cult leaders have managed to accumulate, their boastful demeanor and hypocritical charity are available at the price of a monthly membership or of dozens of unoriginal books which contents are created by 'cutting and pasting' our ancestors' work. They will evangelize, or 'educate', the faithful by selling that same Truth which came not at the price of money but at the price of Christ's Death, the one of His Apostles and the one of all those martyrs of the first persecutions. The fruit of their blood, of their decapitated heads, of their crucified bodies, of their love, perseverance and poverty is now being sold at the price of some tickets for a national conference, or for some cruises going to some tropical places, or for some DVDs available on some online stores that never close.
My dear friends, evangelization should be free from the influence of money or, at least, receive the very minimum return to just cover the expenses of printing. To charge for Catholic teachings that don't personally belong to you (or to me) is not a pure act of love. Rather, knowledge should be shared and passed onto others just as a true act of charity, it being solely for the good of others, because where there is money, there is NEVER God. Never. Ever. The proof of God's absence from money-corrupted 'evangelization' stands in the failed success at witnessing to those who have been far from God, while finding its financial source in the already faithful people who are manipulated into believing all this to be a holy mission.
If we, lay sinners, request money to speak in a parish or at a conference in the name of a God Whom Rejects all money, we end up selling Him for a few bucks. We should never forget that the only time Our Lord had been sold, it was at the price of His death; just like Judas the Iscariot gained monetary compensation for Jesus' deadly sentence, so will we commit an act of malevolence of which consequence could involve the eternal death of the souls of men and women who will turn away from the hypocrisy of religious money-making corporations.
God is Love. His Word was Spoken by the Holy Spirit in Love. His Word Took Flesh in Christ Jesus, Who Died of Love. Love cannot have a price tag, as money is nothing but Charity's death sentence. Money will crucify charity as it crucified Our Redeemer.
My dear friends, have you ever given a birthday gift to a friend and, as soon as he opened it, asked to be reimbursed for the cost of purchase?
The King of Love Eternal Told us to not only give our shirt to the one who wants it, but to willingly give him our coat. A coat is what we put onto someone we love when we see them shake in the cold of a night. A coat gives warmth and comfort. The coat that you and I are asked to give is that love which brings comfort to the lonely who lives in the coldness of this restless world.
Love is a gift. Love comes for free to each and every one of us.
Love must be given for free. The Word of God does not belong to me or to you, but to God Alone Who Gave it freely and to all. He alone Is the Maker and Author of all things, while you and I are only ashes of the world's dirt who Christ Redeemed out of a love we cannot even begin to fathom – a love most undeserved and toward which we must be empty of pride, shall we desire to receive it in our hearts.
We were all equally redeemed by Jesus. No one is ever better than another. No one is more worthy than another person. No one should be preaching from a pedestal, especially for money and without sacred vows. No words spoken by the Holy Spirit can ever request money for having been uttered.
We, men, are weak. Our hearts easily fall for the seduction of the world, even when the intention is good.
Reflection is good, especially if we all come to understand that in order to decently serve God, we shall never charge or ask for any compensation, unless a spontaneous offer is being made from the other person. The only way to witness in the Spirit of Our Lord is by giving ourselves and our work in the same way He Gave Himself and His Work: unselfishly, freely, humbly and simply. If we fail to do so, His Spirit won't be present in the work and, therefore, no results will be achieved if not as personal financial gain – which is not from God.
These 'Catholic' companies, blogs, websites and ministries seem to always expand beyond their initial boundaries in considerably larger corporations and at very fast rates. Surely, they may desire to reach larger audiences, but someone who can teach us all about evangelizing the world, once said: 'I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time – just one, one, one. So you begin. I began – I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn't pick up that one person, I wouldn't have picked up forty-two thousand….The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the same thing in your church, your community. Just begin – one, one, one.'
Of course, Mother Teresa had the Master's Touch of Christ in her, but this little consecrated woman from Albania did the impossible without asking for money or without charging $1,000 to $2,000 per month for an advertising banner inside a website.
Mother Teresa used to say 'It's not about how much you do, but how much love you put into what you do that counts.'
We are not to aim at certain amounts, as this can lead us into pride and self-importance, especially in spiritual matters. Additionally, the purpose of spreading God's Word will be defeated from within it by turning from a work done in the spirit of simple altruistic love to a corporate and routine occupation which will grow us in greed as God's Spirit as well as our hearts are pulled out from it.
Mother Teresa, once again, tells us something very useful in regards to this issue:
'There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in – that we do it to God, to Christ, and that's why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.'