DISCRETION IN GENOROSITY
Money is an important element in life, which allows us attend to our own needs and those of others. Jesus was not against money; He and his group of disciples had their own communal economy assisted at times by their accommodating supporters. (cf. Lc 8,3). Apparently, Judas was in charge of the administration; but he is not criticized for his management of the money, but for “taking advantage” (cf. Jn 12, 6).
What Jesus always criticised, was the worship of money; making it the centre of one’s life, the ‘god’ who rules and is the obsession of life (cf. Mt 6, 19-21.24-34). We must not forget that the first community in Jerusalem, after Pentecost, was, not to have but to share, so that nobody missed out on the necessities of life. (cf. Hch 2,44-45; 4,32-37). The Christian is not against goods, but injustices, imbalance, corruption… Believers are not in favour of poverty, but of the poor, and have the desire to help to overcome this situation.
Father Claret handled a lot of money; there is no reason to deny it. In the time of Madrid he would have had two good wages: as royal confessor and as Archbishop Emeritus of Cuba; and he could have had two more which he renounced: that of President of El Escorial (a position that that he held with great difficulty and annoyance) and of Senator (position not accepted, because of his ingrained aversion to politics). He lived a very austere life, but at times claimed his income to support authorised activities and to give alms in abundance. However, given his position, it was inevitable that he would be the centre of interest for the malicious, those who spread rumours about his ‘riches;’ it was a form of persecution. For this reason, discreetly, he preferred that his money matters were in the hands of others, so that the apostolic mission remained undisturbed by this type of influence.
What role does money and, in general, material goods play in my everyday life? What is my attitude towards the poor in our society?