Wednesday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
(II Thessalonians 3:6-10.16-18; Matthew 23:27-32)
Because of the statement in the first reading that “if anyone (is) unwilling to work, neither should that one eat,” St. Paul has been accused of intolerance toward the poor and disabled. However, Paul demonstrates throughout his letters and in the Acts of the Apostles a consistent solicitude for the unfortunate. Whom he shows no patience for are those who make a mockery of faith by taking advantage of the goodwill of Christians. These are the people whom we still meet going from church to church seeking handouts when they should be facing up to the challenges of life.
Today the Church remembers St. Louis of France. He was the model king of the thirteenth century, in some ways the model era of Christianity. St. Louis gave a dictum that serves us well today as we try to distinguish legitimate needs from procrastinations and deceits. “Always side with the poor rather than the rich,” he advised, “until you are certain of the truth.”