On Saturday, Mary and I went to visit Christ Church Anglican Cathedral
in Dublin. As Mary walked through the doors and ventured in a few
steps, she met an attendant who asked for 6 Euro to be admitted. No 6
Euro, no Cathedral. On Sunday, there is no price for admittance as
long as you are attending a service. Although I would have preferred
to attend Sunday Eucharist at a regular neighborhood parish, I went to
the Cathedral, partly because I knew where it was.
Today's Gospel reading rang loudly in my ears this morning:
Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and
buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the
money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them,
‘It is written,
“My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you are making it a
den of robbers.’
The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them.
But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that
he did, and heard* the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna to
the Son of David’, they became angry and said to him, ‘Do you hear
what these are saying?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have you never read,
“Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared
praise for yourself”?’ (Mt. 21:12-16).
On Sunday, I read the back of the service bulletin. It explained why
they charge 6 Euro to visit. These are hard economic times. The
budget to run the Cathedral is 1,200,000 Euro (about $1,500,000).
They have to cut back on their social service programs for the poor
and needy. The only way that they have to try to keep those programs
going is to charge tourists who visit the Cathedral. Even so, they
still have a deficit of 200,000 Euro this year.
Were they like the money changers in today's Gospel reading. I don't
think so. The tourists that come to visit by and large are not there
to pray but to see the glory of years past. The Cathedral is still
trying to do the work of building the Kingdom of God with fewer funds
and with fewer people.
Let us pray: Gracious God, even when times are hard, and especially
when times are hard, you call us to be Christ's hands and feet ,
helping those who are hurting among us. Help those who work with the
poor at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. Give them the grace of
Your Holy Spirit to continue when discouraged. Amen.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550