2 Feb 2020. 4th Sunday OT. Cycle A-2020. Zep 2:3; 3:12-13 + 1Cor 1:26-31 + Mt 5:1-12a

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3).

Christianity encourages endurance of suffering, and downplays the quest for wealth. Because of this, Ted Turner, the self-made billionaire, sneered at Christianity as the religion of losers. When we see that the more faithful a country is, the poorer it is, his observation seems to be correct.

Can we not thrive in a win-win situation, that is, be faithful to the commandments and, also, rich in possessions? Abraham, Solomon, and Job were rich, yet they remained faithful to God. Even today, some rich people seem to be righteous, even donating to church and charity.

Ironically, the Word of God, who was God, was born poor, lived poor, and died poor. “He became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich” (2Cor 8:9). He taught that the Gospel, meaning “good news,” does not teach how to gather treasure in this world, but how to gather treasure in heaven (cf. Mt 6:19-21). He who gains the whole world seems to be a winner, but if he loses his soul in the process, he is a loser (cf. Mt 16:26).

Wealth and grace are not mutually exclusive, but wealth is a baggage in the trip to heaven (cf. Mt 19:23-24). Love of God and love of wealth mutually are exclusive (cf. Mt 6:24). St. Paul explained, “The love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith” (1Tm 6:10). The rich claim that faith is a crutch for the poor. Wealth, however, blinds faith (cf. Dt 8:11-14).

Winners are decided at the finish line. At the finish of life, the winners are those who rejoice in heaven for eternity; the losers are those who languish in hell for eternity. One may lose wealth for eighty to ninety years in this world, but if that merits bliss for eternity in heaven, he is a winner (cf. Phil 3:20). VSS

Picture: A Chance of Wealth at the Casino. Photo by Javon Swaby on Pexels.com.