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Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Riches Beyond Our Wildest Dreams

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

A Reflection on 2 Corinthians 8:9 N.A.B.

By: Larry T. Smith

This Sunday we might focus our attention on 2 Corinthians, Chapter 8, Verse 9. Saint Paul writes:

For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Because of God’s grace and the redeeming work of our Lord Jesus Christ we have riches beyond our wildest imaginations, But, we must proceed cautiously through life because the earthly world that we live in will make every effort to strip us of those riches and leave us penniless. This very old, Middle Eastern story illustrates the point:

In the very olden days there was a bankrupt merchant who resorted to swindling his customers and neighbors out of their hard earned money to pay his debts. This natural-born thief even managed to cheat many of the villagers out of their lifetime savings. Eventually he was found out and arrested and ordered to be imprisoned by the local judge. Even so, this thief didn’t change his ways. He immediately went to work on his fellow prisoners and managed to cheat them out of every cent in their pockets and their other meager possessions as well.

By and by the other prisoners appealed to the judge for protection from the scoundrel.

After some deliberation the judge decided to release the thief from prison to protect the other prisoners. Instead of being joyful, the thief objected and said, “This prison is my bread and butter. If you let me out, how will I live?”

The judge not only released him, but also hired town criers speaking ten different languages to make sure that every man in every town was aware of this man’s dishonesty and thievery.

According to the custom of that era the man was sat on a camel and walked around the village all day long. The cameleer, the owner of the camel, was already dreaming of the hay money he would earn. Town criers were screaming in ten different languages about how dishonest and thieving a man the merchant was. When night came and the cameleer said, “Enough! Give me my hay money,” the man said, “you fool, they are announcing in ten different languages that I am a dishonest man and a thief. What hay money? Are you not hearing what everyone else is?” 

Interesting story, but a bankrupt merchant, town criers, camels and cameleers? Is there a moral to this ages-old Middle Eastern story? What can we learn from it?

The thieving merchant is the worldly culture that we live in; it is a thief whose purpose is to strip us of the spiritual riches earned for us by the redeeming work of our Lord Jesus Christ and send us off penniless. The town criers announcing that the world is a thief in ten different languages are the prophets. Their messages are passed down to us through Holy Scripture—the Holy Bible—that has been translated into six hundred seventy languages. The New Testament alone has been translated into one thousand five hundred twenty languages and Bible portions or stories into one thousand one hundred twenty other languages. Thus, the prophets and evangelists continue to warn most of the civilized world about the thief. The cameleer represents those people who are fascinated by the positions, status and fortunes offered by the world.

The cameleers in our modern world are people who choose to ignore their spiritual wealth or were just never properly taught about it. But the price paid for it, as Saint Paul tells us, was high: as each fist pummeled Jesus’ face, as the skin on His innocent bare back was ripped open as He was being scourged, as the crown of thorns was jammed viciously down on top of His head, as His wrists and feet were nailed to the cross, His precious Blood was being spilled and He sank deeper and deeper into poverty so that we will be spiritually rich. This might be a good time to pause for a few minutes and give thought to just how much of our spiritual wealth was contained in even one single red drop of His priceless Blood.

Perhaps this is also a good time to reflect on the possibility that many of the horrific crimes being committed in our country and the world in general are by people who have fallen prey to the message being preached by the worldly culture that we live in. They have been taken in by the bankrupt merchant and become spiritually penniless, living out an empty and hollow existence.

If we choose to ignore the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament evangelists, the agony of Jesus’ Passion and poverty will have been for nothing; we, too, will then sink into spiritual destitution and hopelessness.

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