Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
(II Corinthians 11:18.21-30; Matthew 6:19-23)
The first reading is reminiscent of a story told of a preacher who was promised a hefty reward by a man if he said something good about the man’s brother who had just died. The preacher felt pressed because the deceased was a particularly bad person as was his brother. So the preacher just said that the dead man had many faults but that he was better than his brother any day.
St. Paul is having difficulty keeping the Corinthians Christians on the true Christian path. Evidently, although it is not explicitly stated, the Corinthians have been misguided by errant apostles. Perhaps the apostles spoke of the necessity to abide by the precepts of the Jewish Law as did the evangelizers who taught among the Galatians after Paul. More probably, since Paul speaks of the sacrifices he has made to preach the gospel, they have demanded fee for services in a venal way. By his own admission Paul embarks on an imprudent course in refuting them. Rather than attack the error directly, he tries to show that he should be heeded not the others because he is a more authentic apostle.
Money like sex can be the downfall of good people. We pray to God that we can be like Jesus and Paul serving without looking for any unjust reward.