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home : opinion : opinion March 26, 2015

8/5/2013 11:47:00 AM
Letter to the Editor from Father Gregory Parrott

Dear Editor:

I am horrible at trying to step into the realms of engineering, psychiatry, network administrating and a whole host of other fields. Which is why I try to stick to my own-theology.

Just as economists would roll their eyes at me trying to wax eloquently about whatever they would wax eloquently, I sigh when someone attempts to do speak authoritatively on theology without having seriously studied theology.

So when I read claims about Jesus in the local paper which are inaccurate, I am caught between not personally caring and wanting to correct the record for the sake of the Gospel in my parishes. Obviously, I have chosen to write. So, let me clarify just three things about whether Jesus was a communist.

First, loving one's neighbor is not a doctrine that belongs to one political ideology. It actually comes from our God-given human nature, but was concretely expressed very early on in ancient Judaism (Leviticus 19:18).

Second, there is no quote in the Christian Scriptures which reads: "From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." That comes from Karl Marx, not Jesus. Jesus' talking about God giving us talents is not comparable to Marx's phrase since God's grace is limitless, while earthly resources are not.

Third, the notion of living in a commune never existed with Jesus. The closest one can get are the miracles of the loaves and fish. As well, after Jesus was physically gone, the Apostles and the early Christian community for a very short time shared many resources, but that quickly led to problems and they dropped it (cf. I Corinthians 11:17-22).

They moved to what we now know as Christian charity, especially by taking up collections (cf. II Corinthians 8:1-9:15).

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Gregory Parrott

Publisher's Note:

I was responding to a writer who chose to call me communist-inspired. I was responding with my description of the "communism" which "inspires" my editorials. Jesus did preach the things I mentioned. I refer you to Luke and Acts.

When asked what a man must do to be worthy of heaven, Jesus was pretty clear in Luke. Luke 18:22 , When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

Acts 2:44-45, All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

Acts 4:34-37, There were no needy among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need.

Acts 5:1-10, Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.

Then Peter said, "Ananais, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land. Didn't it belong to you before it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God."

When Ananais heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body and carried him out and buried him.

About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananais got for the land?"

"Yes," she said, "that is the price."

Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also."

At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

The Apostles dropped their "communist" living arrangements because they were unable to live up to the standard God set for them. That's why Jesus is needed.

As a Lutheran, I prayerfully read the Bible myself. My editorials are inspired by my Christian faith and, if they seem "communist-inspired," then it is the communism of Jesus and the Apostles as expressed in Luke and Acts, not the communism of the Communist Party.

Claremont Service

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