Catholic Daily Message for the Feast of Saint Luigi Versiglia (25 Feb 2015)
In the last 24 hours, the media have become all excited over the fact that eight meat-packing employees in Nebraska chipped in a bought a ticket on the state lottery—and won! Their good fortune brings them each 15.5 millions dollars, after taxes!
Which leads us to the inevitable game that we play in our own minds: what would I do if someone suddenly handed me 15.5 million dollars? It’s interesting that item of news hits the headlines just when, in our sacred liturgy, we read from the letter of Saint James: “Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries!” Then Saint James goes on to indicate that he is talking about people who are wealthy because they have cheated, defrauded, and taken advantage of the poor. It reminds us of the saying of Our Lord: It is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. He also tells us the parable of the rich man with the poor beggar, Lazarus, who sits at his doorstep each day in the hope of receiving something to eat. If you remember, the poor man ended in heaven; the rich man in hell.
We need to be careful about our use of wealth. Certainly, we have the right to live in reasonable dignity, comfort, and security. Likewise, we would like to see all the people on earth enjoying those conditions. But there is also the obligation to share what we have with the poor and the needy and good causes. What do you suppose those eight fortunate people in Nebraska will do with their 15.5 million dollars each? I hope that they will use that money in such a way that they will, in the words of Jesus, make friends with the money of evil. We cannot take money into eternal life. But we can take the merit of our generous use of it. Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, says Our Lord. My every good action is a coin in the treasure that I can lay up in heaven. God grant that we may engage in wise spiritual bookkeeping. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.