Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Corinthians 8, 1-15

Next, brothers, we will tell you of the grace of God which has been granted to the churches of Macedonia,

and how, throughout continual ordeals of hardship, their unfailing joy and their intense poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

I can testify that it was of their own accord that they made their gift, which was not merely as far as their resources would allow, but well beyond their resources;

and they had kept imploring us most insistently for the privilege of a share in the fellowship of service to God's holy people-

it was not something that we expected of them, but it began by their offering themselves to the Lord and to us at the prompting of the will of God.

In the end we urged Titus, since he had already made a beginning, also to bring this work of generosity to completion among you.

More, as you are rich in everything-faith, eloquence, understanding, concern for everything, and love for us too -- then make sure that you excel in this work of generosity too.

I am not saying this as an order, but testing the genuineness of your love against the concern of others.

You are well aware of the generosity which our Lord Jesus Christ had, that, although he was rich, he became poor for your sake, so that you should become rich through his poverty.

I will give you my considered opinion in the matter; this will be the right course for you as you were the first, a year ago, not only to take any action but also even to conceive the project.

Now, then, complete the action as well, so that the fulfilment may -- so far as your resources permit -- be proportionate to your enthusiasm for the project.

As long as the enthusiasm is there, the basis on which it is acceptable is what someone has, not what someone does not have.

It is not that you ought to relieve other people's needs and leave yourselves in hardship; but there should be a fair balance-

your surplus at present may fill their deficit, and another time their surplus may fill your deficit. So there may be a fair balance;

as scripture says: No one who had collected more had too much, no one who collected less had too little.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul was feeling a debt of gratitude to the ‘mother’ community of Jerusalem which was going through a particularly difficult moment. We may say that even today we urgently feel this debt in view of the drama that the whole land of Jesus is going through. In order to help, Paul organized a collection in the communities he founded. In this manner Paul manifested not solely solidarity of the communities with that of Jerusalem but also communion with the other apostles. Christian fraternity, as it already emerged in the “summaries” in the Acts of the Apostles describing the life of the community, is made also of concrete aid. And to participate in the collection, as had the communities in Macedonia which were quite poor, signified participating in an extra¬ordinary grace, because love towards those who are in need enriches those who give more than those who receive. As Jesus himself had said, according to what Paul himself reports to the elders of Ephesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The Macedonians had understood the meaning of gospel love: not only had they given some offerings, but – as Paul says, “and this is not merely what we expected; they gave themselves first to the Lord and, by the will of God, to us” (v. 5). The apostle presents them as a model of solidarity. He asks the Corinthians, who differ from the Macedonians, “As you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking” (v. 7), in this work of solidarity. For Christians the command¬ment of love springs from the example of Jesus who “though he was rich he became poor, so that by his poverty” we all might become rich. The disciples must look to the Lord so that this interchange of gifts may be realised and leave no one destitute. Here is the substance of Christian fellowship: a communion in the faith which also becomes help and practical support. As the abundance of preaching, which came from the Church of Jerusalem, had enriched the Corinthians and the other communities, so now the abundance of material goods of these communities was to benefit the needs of the community of Jerusalem, so that no one lack what is necessary and that there may be equality of gifts in the grace of the Lord.