Friday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(I Timothy 6:2c-12; Luke 8:1-3)
When one of the twentieth century’s most famous thieves, Willie Sutton, was asked why he robbed banks, he reportedly answered, “...because that’s where the money is.” Everyone understands what Sutton means because only people breathing their last have no need of money. Like a master key, it seemingly allows its holder access to anywhere.
However, the New Testament makes a poor friend of money. In the Gospel according to Luke Jesus often warns against its accumulation although, as today’s passage indicates, he and his disciples had needs that the women’s money presumably took care of. Perhaps Scripture is no where more wary of money than in the first reading today. We should note, however, that the First Timothy does not condemn money itself, but says that it is “the love of money (that) is the root of all evils...” One does not have to live very long to see people make fools of themselves. Many grade schools students, for example, watched the class hustler swallow a goldfish for a quarter.
Should charities accept money from patently sinful sources? Much good can be done with so-called tainted money, but then virtue’s kissing vice leaves many people morally confused. Scandal must be avoided, but at times thieves may make reparation for their crimes by privately reciprocating institutions that care for the truly needy.