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Saturday, August 14, 2010

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St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe

Ezekiel 18:1-10, 13, 30-32
Psalm 51:12-15, 18-19
Matthew 19:13-15

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don't bank on it

"But if he begets a son who is a thief, a murderer...lends at interest and exacts usury — this son certainly shall not live." —Ezekiel 18:10, 13

God clearly commands us not to lend with interest (Ex 22:24; Ps 15:5; Prv 28:8; Ez 18:13, 17; 22:12). In Deuteronomy 23:20, the chosen people may exact interest from foreigners but not from each other. It seems that we as Christians should not participate in a banking system, which does not differentiate between believers and unbelievers. Possibly we could use a bank to aid in managing our money by means of an interest-free checking account. But on the whole we as Christians would not be very involved with the banking system.

Now almost everybody, church pastors included, disobeys this explicit, repeated Biblical command. Some justify it by saying the Old Testament's prohibition of usury has been superseded by the New Testament. However, Jesus said He came not to abolish even the smallest part of a letter of the law, but to fulfill it (Mt 5:17). We have not even the slightest indication that the law forbidding interest has been changed by the New Testament. In fact, Jesus takes it a step further: "If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what merit is there in it for you?" (Lk 6:34)

If we are to be honest and consistent in interpreting the Scriptures, we must obey this command no matter if others do or not.

Prayer:  Jesus, Your Word can free me from cultural blind spots, or my culture can blind me to Your Word. May I choose to see by the light of Your Word.

Promise:  "Jesus said, 'Let the children come to Me. Do not hinder them. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.' " —Mt 19:14

Praise:  St. Maximilian encouraged others, "Let us, then, tell the Blessed Virgin that we are content, and that she can do with us anything she wishes."

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2010

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