I opened the newspaper today to find the troubling news: my local Catholic church was selected by the the “Regional Chamber of Commerce” as…..(trumpet introduction)…..”BUSINESS OF THE WEEK”! My parish is a business? When did this happen? How did this happen? I looked up “business” in Webster’s Dictionary – maybe the word has been redefined somehow:
Business – the activity of making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.
This is worse than I thought. “Business” did not get redefined. God help us all, if “church” got redefined! I remember that Jesus got very upset when He discovered that the Holy Temple had become a “place of merchandise” – a place of buying and selling – a place of money-changers and money-makers. “My Father’s House shall be called a house of prayer!” He cried out for the whole world to hear: church is not a business.
Church is not a business; the activity of a church is not “making, buying, or selling goods or providing services in exchange for money.” Church ministers – lay or clergy – are not employees with a job; they are in service to God and His people. And the services they provide are not “in exchange for money” – they are owed, they are the debts of love owed because He first loved us, and gave Himself for us.
No, I do not know how our parish ever got into a “chamber of commerce.” What “commerce” is a church to be occupied with, except the supernatural commerce of the economy of grace? God help us.