Another of the directives of the moral code in Leviticus 19 concerns the poor, travelers and foreigners. "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God" (Lev 19:9-10). We must not hoard all that God has given us; we must share our bounty with others among us. No matter how we receive our harvest today, whether through a paycheck, commission or self-employment, others must be considered. It does not even say that we should gather it and then parcel it out to the poor and the needy, which is what we tend to do today. The direction is to let people help themselves.
We might also notice that it assumes there will be poor people and travelers or foreigners present. Jesus said, of course, that the poor would always be with us (John 12:8, Matthew 26:11). And on another occasion, when he and the disciples were traveling, they stopped to pick grain in a field (Matthew 12:1). In other words, they helped themselves.
Most of us today are not farmers and the idea of people helping themselves to what we have earned (however we are paid) is foreign to us. Don't we always try to get paid as much as we can (whether we are individuals or corporations)? Of course, we do. We mitigate this by giving to charity, donating our time to non-profits, and various other activities.
But how often do we resent what we tithe? How often do we denigrate the beggar on the corner? How often do we harbor a grudge toward the foreigner among us who is trying to get a leg up?
For Reflection: Does what I earn belong totally to me or should I share it? How much should I share? How should I share it? What is my attitude toward foreigners around me?
Let us pray. Jesus, if I knew that it would be you picking from my fields I don't think I would hesitate to leave some good pickings. But most of the time I don't know exactly where my giving goes. Most of the time I am disdainful of the poor and distrustful of aliens. Help me to not hoard what you have given me and to see you in everyone. Help me to be gracious and give freely.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.