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EVANGELICAL POVERTY
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi, October 04, 2013
Gal. 6:14-18, Ps. 15, Matt. 11:25-30


"But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14).


Today we celebrate St. Francis of Assisi who wanted to be a poor man for the love of God. St. Francis was in love with the ideal of evangelical poverty and wanted to marry Lady Poverty, divesting himself of everything of this world to live only for God with all his heart and find all his delight in him. Instead of finding his happiness in the sweet things of this world, he renounced his inheritance and made himself poor, living on alms and preaching the gospel everywhere. He preached with words, and backed up his preaching with the witness of his simple, poor life. The example of his life gave power to his words. He gloried in the cross of Christ and crucified himself to the delights and pleasures of this world (Gal. 6:14). He completely renounced his former life and comfortable family. Henceforth he dressed in a religious habit, which expressed his consecration to God and showed his poverty, ate with great simplicity, and lived a simple life. He did this for the love of God to have an undivided heart in his love for the Lord, not divided by the delights of the table and of the world.


We too should be crucified to the world, and the world to us (Gal. 6:14), through the cross of Christ, which we have taken up (Matt. 16:24). We should leave the values of the world and the lifestyle of the secularized culture around us. Our motive for doing this should be to love God with all our heart (Mark 12:30) and find all our happiness in him. This is why we renounce the delights of this creation for those of the new creation. We leave the pleasures of this world for those of the kingdom of God. We live simply and in evangelical poverty to serve only one master, not both God and mammon, for no one can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24).


We live a life of self-denial (Matt. 16:24) in order not to have our consolation now, for Jesus said to the rich, "Woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation" (Luke 6:24). We do not want to be like the rich glutton who had his consolation during his lifetime in his daily splendid banquets, and afterward went to hell (Luke 16:25).


Rather, we want to be like the anawim, the poor of the Lord, who lost and renounced everything and now find all their delight in the Lord. Only in this way will we obtain the hidden treasure, which is the kingdom of God; that is, by renouncing everything of this world and living only for God, as did the man who discovered a treasure buried in a field and could only obtain it by selling all that he had to be able to buy the field in which the treasure was buried (Matt. 13:44). What is Jesus teaching us in this parable? He is teaching us that we should live a simple life and embrace evangelical poverty for the love of God. Those who do this are the ones who find the treasure, the kingdom of God. Those who live crucified to the world, and the world to them (Gal. 6:14), find the treasure. They have chosen the straight and narrow way of life that few find, and have left the wide and easy way of the many that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14).


St. Francis lost his life in this world for the love of God, and he found it in God (Mark 8:35). We should do the same.

 

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