Homily for Thursday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle II
Theme: Salvation is free
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Thursday June 11 2020
(Mt. 10:7-13) Memorial of St. Barnabas, an Apostle
In today’s Gospel, Jesus sends the twelve on a mission. He instructed them not to burden themselves with a lot of things. He had formed them, heard His teachings, and witnessed His miracles. The apostles were blessed and Jesus wanted them to share those blessings to others. In the same way that they benefited the company of Jesus for free, they ought to share them for free. Jesus specified this because there must have been religious leaders that time who took advantage of their position to gain financial advantage. The Good News is never for any material or earthly gain. It is for spiritual purposes. It is for reconciliation with God and be at peace with Him.
Unfortunately, there was a time in Church history when spiritual favours were exchanged for money or secular favours. Indulgences, a very good tradition in the Church, were misused. Ecclesiastical privileges like pardons for sins and giving of benefices to people were for sale. It is called Simony. It is named after Simon Magus, who is described in the Acts of the Apostles as having offered two disciples of Jesus payment in exchange for their empowering him to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to anyone on whom he would place his hands. The term extends to other forms of trafficking for money in “spiritual things”. This gave the misleading idea that graces and salvation can be bought.
The Church’s Arancel system did not help. The system was a way to encourage the faithful to support the Church’s services and mission. Aside from manpower, money is needed to facilitate things today. Churches need to maintain the structure, hire and pay employees, provide for utilities, acquire supplies needed for the sacraments and sacrament alis, etc. As Jesus said, “The labourer deserves his keep.” Unfortunately it was abused by some clergy. Excessive charges were exacted for sacraments. It was part of the reason why the faithful construed the sacraments as for sale and not free.
Salvation is free. The sacraments, instituted by Christ, to obtain graces for our salvation are free. They are priceless. No amount of money can buy them for what they are worth. You cannot but a stairway to heaven. I have always instructed my office staff to welcome anyone who wanted to receive the sacraments. While, even when the Arancel System was in effect, (Our parish has ceased to apply the system since two years ago. We launched the Stewardship Program which abolished the Arancel System. We now rely on the graciousness of people who avail of the sacraments and faithfuls who support the Church.) our parish daw to it that money was not a hindrance in receiving the sacraments. Love offerings were accepted. The support was tremendous. The faithful came to realize that the best way to thank the Lord was to support the mission of the Church.
Indeed, Jesus was right. Let us busy ourselves with helping people be saved and not making money. Church and religion maybe a business to others but not with Jesus. His business is salvation And He is giving it for free. Well, He paid for it with His life.