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Monday, August 18, 1997

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St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Judges 2:11-19
Psalm 106:34-44
Matthew 19:16-22

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the poor and my life

"Give to the poor." —Matthew 19:21

Jesus commanded a young man: "Go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor" (Mt 19:21). Jesus came to preach the good news to the poor (Lk 4:18). Jesus was poor, loves the poor, and expects us to make great sacrifices for the poor. At his conversion, Zacchaeus realized this and said: "I give half my belongings, Lord, to the poor" (Lk 19:8). The early Church also understood Jesus' emphasis on sacrificing for the poor. Some Christians gave to the poor even beyond their means so that Paul had to counsel them: "The willingness to give should accord with one's means, not go beyond them" (2 Cor 8:12). How many times have our pastors had to send our checks back to us because we had gone overboard in giving? Are we better than some early Christians in budgeting, or are we selfish and stingy by New Testament standards?

Missionaries, pastors, and relief organizations repeatedly tell us they desperately need money to reach people with the Gospel and to save the lives of the starving and the sick. They are telling us the truth. How can we stand by idly when our neighbor's life is at stake? (Lv 19:16) "I ask you, how can God's love survive in a man who has enough of this world's goods yet closes his heart to his brother when he sees him in need?" (1 Jn 3:17)

Prayer:  Father, may I greatly increase my sacrificial giving to the poor. May I carefully discern every purchase and live a "more austere" life-style (Mission of the Redeemer, 59, Pope John Paul II).

Promise:  "The Lord took pity on their distressful cries of affliction under their oppressors." —Jgs 2:18

Praise:  Jane Frances expressed her forgiveness to the man who accidentally killed her husband by many acts of kindness and becoming godmother to one of his children.

Reference:  (For related teaching, order our booklet, The Bible on Money.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 1, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 1997