HERE'S A HILLY FIELD of wild flowers near Assisi ~ the home of Saint Francis. It's said that when God created the world, God made the fields around Assisi to be like a garden of extravagant bloom as this is where Saint Francis would someday walk.
There are numerous stories told of Francis and his followers. In one scene, Francis witnesses a wealthy man, (sitting on his horse), kill a beggar who has dared to approach him. Francis runs up to see if he can help the poor man who has fallen to the ground. Perhaps to keep Francis quiet, the murderer puts a gold coin into Francis' open palm. Without even closing his fingers around the coin, Francis turns his hand over, allowing the shiny coin to fall to the ground. The murderer rides off cursing angrily.
Francis is to have said to a young friar among his disciples: "It would be better for you to go outside into the street and kiss donkey dung than to touch money."
We touch money, count and re-count money, play games to make quick money, manipulate and treasure money, delight in money, dream of money, even sometimes kiss money. Sad to say, but priests are often taken up with money.
Christians are over-the-moon with love for Francis when he stays put, standing in the garden birdbath, but find the saint annoying, impossible or impractical when he says things like this about money. Still, on his feast day we might have a think about his money injunction and discover some way in which we might be able to even remotely make the teaching part of our lives. It's the change of attitude, that pleases Jesus.