Memorial of St. Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
One of the local Catholic university presidents once told me this maxim: “No money, no mission.” Jesus tells us to leave everything to follow Him, to sell everything and give to the poor in order to be perfect. However, even the Lord relied on the charity of some wealthy women to subsidize his public ministry. St. James does not say that money is the root of evil but rather that the love of money is the root of evil. That disordered love is from the three major temptations: power, prestige, and pleasure. The Lord wants to free us from those.
There is a particular condemnation to those of us who are professional religious trying to further a mission but being tempted to the prestige. The scribes “devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers.” Many a parish can only get updated furnishings and renovations with the help of pious old ladies. You thank them with home blessings and rushing to their bedsides in time of illness. However, is the pastor helping them fulfill a mission for the Church or merely setting up his own legacy?
A patriotic slogan in the United States says: “Freedom isn’t free.” To be freed of the love of money for mission will cost us. We are not to give in charity of surplus but of what costs us but also stores up treasure in heaven.
Reflection by Fr. Pachomius Meade, OSB