Baptism: Pomps and vanity - Page 2
People will tell you that you cannot do without money, and that is true. But the really important thing is, not how much money you have but how you look on it. God is the owner of his own Universe, and therefore all money belongs in the end to him. What he does is to entrust us with a certain amount for us to use as something which is really his. Against that there is the sin of avarice, a greedy desire for money. People want it for themselves so that it can be their very own to spend as they like. And remember, you do not have to have money in order to want it or love it. There are plenty of people who may have very little, but they would love to have a lot. So St Paul says that it is the love of money, not money itself, which is the root of all evils (Jerusalem Bible, 1 Timothy 6:10). And it is love of money, a spirit of greed and grab, which separates people from God. Indeed it has been said that the worst thing you can do to your enemy is to leave him or her a fortune.
Parable of the Sower
So in the Parable of the Sower, some of the seed which was sown fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. The meaning of this is that the seed is the Word of God and “…what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature” (NRSV, Luke 8:4-15).
St Francis of Assisi
St Francis of Assisi actually hated money because of that. The story is told that one day he and a brother friar, as they walked along a country road, found a bulging purse such as wealthy merchants used for carrying their gold. St Francis’ companion wanted to pick it up and give it to the poor, but even for that reason Francis would not let him touch it. So they went along the road, but the friar couldn’t get the thought of the purse out of his head, and he pestered Francis to let him go back for it for the sake of the poor. So, in order to teach him, Francis agreed and they retraced their steps. When they came to where the great, fat purse was lying, St Francis knelt down to pray and told the friar to pick it up. The friar, who was by now beginning to have second thoughts, went forward, but just as he was taking hold of it, an adder slithered from it. “This,” said St Francis, “is what money is for the servants of God”.