Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Genesis 44:18-21.23b-29.45:1-5; Matthew 10:7-15)
“I have six pence, jolly, jolly six pence/ I have six pence to last me all my life./ I have two pence to spend and two pence to lend,/And two pence to send home to my wife, poor wife.”
Many sing such rhymes as this in their youth to make the best of the time when their earning power is minimal. Perhaps the apostles have learned to sing something like it as Jesus sends them to proclaim the Good News.
Jesus tells them that they are not to “take gold or silver or copper.” The last, a copper coin, is equivalent to the modern penny. Jesus wants the apostles to preach the goodness of God by their poverty as well as by their words. Completely dependent on Divine Providence, without even a penny to their name, they will show how the Lord cares for those who trust in Him.
Often enough today we forget Jesus’ instruction here. Preachers set their fees to meet their budgets which can include huge salaries, hefty insurance premiums, and ample retirement accounts. We should forgive them for doing so as our society expects most everyone to look after his/her own needs. But we should never doubt Jesus’ principal consideration here. When we bestow a blessing on those we meet, we can be assured that the gracious act will come back to us tenfold.