For the Love of Money

Beloved:
Teach and urge these things.
Whoever teaches something different
and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ
and the religious teaching
is conceited, understanding nothing,
and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes.
From these come envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicions,
and mutual friction among people with corrupted minds,
who are deprived of the truth,
supposing religion to be a means of gain.
Indeed, religion with contentment is a great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world,
just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it.
If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that.
Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap
and into many foolish and harmful desires,
which plunge them into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is the root of all evils,
and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith
and have pierced themselves with many pains.

But you, man of God, avoid all this.
Instead, pursue righteousness, devotion,
faith, love, patience, and gentleness.
Compete well for the faith.
Lay hold of eternal life,
to which you were called when you made the noble confession
in the presence of many witnesses.
(1 Timothy 6:2-12)

Scripture Study

6:3-10 Paul resumes his criticism of false teachers wreaking havoc in Ephesus (1:3–11). He contends that the driving force behind their novelties is pride, an infatuation with controversy, and a distorted view of leadership. Not only that, but they exact a price for their preaching in order to accumulate wealth for themselves (6:10; Tit 1:11).

6:7 nothing into the world: Recalls similar statements in Job 1:21 and Eccles 5:15.

6:10 the love of money: Paul reproves, not the wealthy, but lovers of wealth. So dangerous is the allurement of riches that he warns in the strongest possible terms against piling it up for ourselves. Unless we become “poor in spirit” (Mt 5:3), the downward pull of money and material possessions will eventually lead to destruction (Lk 12:15–21). ● What evils are caused by wealth! There are frauds, robberies, miseries, enmities, contentions, battles. Take away the love of money, and you put an end to war, conflict, enmity, strife, and contention (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Timothy 7).

6:12 the noble confession: Probably Timothy’s profession of faith enunciated at his Baptism. Paul is urging him to live out his baptismal promises to the full (CCC 2145).

Scripture Reflection

“The love of money is the root of all evils”

All those in the world, including Christians, are aware of the harmful effects of greed. St Paul uses this memorable phrase to get at the false teachers: the root cause of all their errors is their greed for possessions. It is clearly a perverted thing to do to turn godliness, religion, into a way of making money. Those who try to satisfy this ambition will end up unhappy and wretched.

It hurts a person of faith in Christ to see that some use the technique of speaking about the Cross of Christ only so as to climb and obtain promotion. Good teachers, on the contrary, are content with food and a roof over their head. They embrace “the spirit of poverty and charity that is the glory and witness of the Church of Christ” (Gaudium et spes).

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

Graceful Choice

As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
(Matthew 9:9-13)

Scripture Study

9:9 A man named Matthew: Mark names this tax collector Levi (Mk 2:14). No such name appears in the four lists of the twelve who were the closest companions of Jesus (Mt 10:2–4; Mk 3:16–19; Lk 6:14–16; Acts 1:13 [eleven, because of the defection of Judas Iscariot]), whereas all four list a Matthew, designated in Mt 10:3 as “the tax collector.” The evangelist may have changed the “Levi” of his source to Matthew so that this man, whose call is given special notice, like that of the first four disciples (Mt 4:18–22), might be included among the twelve. Another reason for the change may be that the disciple Matthew was the source of traditions peculiar to the church for which the evangelist was writing.

9:10 His house: it is not clear whether his refers to Jesus or Matthew. Tax collectors: Jews who were engaged in the collection of indirect taxes such as tolls and customs. Table association with such persons would cause ritual impurity.

9:11 Teacher: for Matthew, this designation of Jesus is true, for he has Jesus using it of himself (Mt 10:24, 25; 23:8; 26:18), yet when it is used of him by others they are either his opponents (Mt 9:11; 12:38; 17:24; 22:16, 24, 36) or, as here and in Mt 19:16, well-disposed persons who cannot see more deeply. Thus it reveals an inadequate recognition of who Jesus is.

9:12 Do not need a physician: this maxim of Jesus with its implied irony was uttered to silence his adversaries who objected that he ate with tax collectors and sinners (Mk 2:16). Because the scribes and Pharisees were self-righteous, they were not capable of responding to Jesus’ call to repentance and faith in the gospel.

9:13 Go and learn … not sacrifice: Matthew adds the prophetic statement of Hos 6:6 to the Marcan account. If mercy is superior to the temple sacrifices, how much more to the laws of ritual impurity.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today we celebrate the feast of St. Matthew and our Gospel tells of his conversion. Matthew’s laconic account details what the transition from spiritual death to spiritual life is like. First, we notice the look of Jesus. If there is one theme clearly stated in the New Testament is that of the primacy of grace.

Why? We don’t know. We just know that we will not lift ourselves to spiritual wholeness. A gaze has to come upon us from the outside. Not so much finding God as allowing oneself to be found.

Jesus says to him “Follow me.” There is nothing simpler or more basic in the Christian life than this. This is what we disciples do: we follow, we walk after him, we apprentice to him. “He got up and followed him.” The symbolism here is marvelous. Getting up, rising up, anastasis, the same word used to designate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Conversion (turning around) is also elevation, rising up.

To come to Christ is to come to a higher, richer, broader form of life. Now life is not simply the pleasures and goods of the body; now life is lived in and through God.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.