Saturday, 9th Week in Ordinary Time             

            A lady once told a bishop that she wished that priests “would just preach the Gospel and stop talking about money.” She said that she had great admiration for their former parish priest who was deeply spiritual that he never mentioned money in the pulpit. To which the bishop replied, “Then he must have been very spiritual – indeed, “more spiritual” than Jesus – because Jesus often mentioned money in his preaching.”

            What that bishop said is a fact. Jesus did often mention money. And not only did Jesus mention money, but he had more to say about the subject than any other subject on which he spoke! He had more to say about money than what he had to say about Baptism, about “being born again,” about the Second Coming, about the Church, about heaven and hell. Of the 38 parables recorded in the Gospels, 16 deal with the subject of money. It is simply impossible to preach the Gospel and not mention money. Jesus Christ is profoundly interested in the subject.

            Some of you may find this question inappropriate – but let me throw it to you anyway. Does the Lord pay attention to what you put into the collection basket? I think we get a clear answer to that question in today’s gospel reading.

            Take note of how Jesus notices the amount of money people into the treasury or collection box of the temple – particularly that of the rich people and the poor widow. He says to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury.” “For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” So, apparently Jesus sees no conflict between scrutinizing the collection basket and preaching the Kingdom. (William Bausch)

            Why was Jesus so interested in money? Because he was a realist. Jesus knew that where people put their money is where their heart is – it is what they love. Let me put this very important point in another way: Money is a good barometer of how much we love God. It is a good indicator of our true priorities. It is a good measure of our character. It is a good test of our stewardship. The way we use our money and the way we share it reveals much about our relationship with God.

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