The proverbs we study this week in our message series, Foolproof, focus on everyone’s favorite topic — money. Money can make us feel awkward, proud, uncomfortable, happy, and pretty much any emotion in between. The proverbs this week, found in the Old Testament, speak about how to be smart with money. Jesus flipped the tables of money-changers in the temple square in Jerusalem while simultaneously inviting tax collectors to be his apostles, and many of the saints we celebrate today are noted for their piety, generosity, and dedication to simple living.
Matthew’s gospel provides an account of the rich young man who asks Jesus what he might do in order to successfully enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus reminds him to keep the Commandments (which the young man says that does), commands him to give away all of his possessions to the poor, and asks him to follow him and his disciples. Upon hearing this, “the young man went away sad, for he had many possessions,” and Jesus says to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God,” (Matthew 19:22-24).
Some very popular saints, like Francis and Clare, gave up everything in order to serve their communities, and stories of their generosity and that of those who followed them, prove to be ubiquitous in Catholic tradition. So it’s interesting to find out that there is indeed a patron saint to consult for financial matters: Saint Matthew (yes, the same Matthew whose gospel is full of treatises about money and the importance of generosity). Matthew was a tax collector in Jesus’s time, one of the most (if not the most) despised of all professions. The Pharisees, scribes, and Jewish people at large generally considered them to be liars and cheats, charging more taxes than were truly owed and keeping the difference for themselves.
But Jesus asked that Matthew turn from his tax collecting anyway and become an Apostle, one of his most trusted friends and advisors. This Matthew did. He was honest about his shortcomings and abandoned them for a life in Christ. As the patron saint of bankers, bookkeepers, accountants, and tax collectors, Matthew’s example reminds us to keep our relations with money centered in Christ. His story implores us to spend our money wisely, to be cognizant of the impact our money has on others (negative and positive), and to keep our money dealings respectful, remembering that God is the one true God which we serve and honor (especially as it feels like everything is fiscally-motivated these days).
Prayer to Saint Matthew: Matthew, you acknowledged your relationship with money and admitted your sinful ways in order to turn into the warmth of Christ’s love. Help me to use my money wisely and honorably, that I might too feel the eternal light of God.
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
Saint Brendan Church in San Francisco. Check out our exciting featured news articles.