June 15, 2011 - Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

What is Paul talking about today? Money. He is writing to the Corinthians that he wants their money. Some people speak as if all the Church ever talks about is sex and money. Of course, when the Church says a thousand things and one is about sex or money, people will only notice that one. People only notice because these are areas where they do not like to be challenged.

Yet there is a very good reason that the Church does talk about sex and money. Christianity is not some ethereal religion, where we have good feelings and good wishes. Christianity is about a complete conversion of life to the mission of God. How can anyone have a complete conversion while avoiding the very area that attaches them to this world? Some Christians think nothing of paying $30 for dinner at a nice restaurant, but the idea of putting $30 in the collection basket frightens them.

There are two reasons why Paul is telling the Corinthians to give money. First of all, there are people in need. There is a famine in Jerusalem, so Paul is taking up a collection to support the people of Jerusalem. But this is not the more important reason. Paul also wants the Corinthians to give their money because he wants them to be the sort of people who give.

This is important. Even if there were no famines, no earthquakes, no tsunamis, even if there were no poor people in the whole world, we would still need to find some way of giving to others. We want to be the sort of people who give, and we cannot be givers without actual giving.

Jesus tells us that when we give money we should not let anyone see us doing it, because otherwise we will have already received our reward. What reward do we really want? Giving away money that we have earned can be painful. Something inside of us rebels, coming up with excuses why we should hold on to OUR money, which WE EARNED. This is good. Tearing off a bandaid that is attached to you hurts, so too with money which attaches us to the world. This will be useless, however, if we make new attachments of pride at the same time. Our goal in giving away our money is to come completely free of the world, so that when God calls us, nothing will hold us down.