Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Corinthians 8, 16-24; 9,1-5

Thank God for putting into Titus' heart the same sincere concern for you.

He certainly took our urging to heart; but greater still was his own enthusiasm, and he went off to you of his own accord.

We have sent with him the brother who is praised as an evangelist in all the churches

and who, what is more, was elected by the churches to be our travelling companion in this work of generosity, a work to be administered by us for the glory of the Lord and our complete satisfaction.

We arranged it this way so that no one should be able to make any accusation against us about this large sum we are administering.

And so we have been careful to do right not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of people.

Along with these, we have sent a brother of ours whose eagerness we have tested over and over again in many ways and who is now all the more eager because he has so much faith in you.

If Titus is in question -- he is my own partner and fellow-worker in your interests; and if our brothers -- they are the emissaries of the churches and the glory of Christ.

So then, in full view of all the churches, give proof that you love them, and that we were right to boast of you to them.

About the help to God's holy people, there is really no need for me to write to you;

for I am well aware of your enthusiasm, and I have been boasting of it to the Macedonians that 'Achaia has been ready for a year'; your enthusiasm has been a spur to many others.

All the same, I have sent the brothers, to make sure that our boast about you may not prove hollow in this respect and that you may be ready, as I said you would be;

so that if by chance some of the Macedonians came with me and found you unprepared we -- to say nothing of yourselves -- would not be put to shame by our confidence in you.

So I have thought it necessary to encourage the brothers to go to you ahead of us and make sure in advance of the gift that you have already promised, so that it is all at hand as a real gift and not an imposition.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul wants to send Titus to Corinth with other companions so that they may care about the life of that Christian community. Titus has willingly accepted the assignment and Paul is pleased. He also sends two other “brothers,” who are not named, to accompany Titus in collecting aid. It is a small group who will try to send a substantial collection to the mother Church of Jerusalem. The apostle attaches great importance to this work. He knows well that in fact there is no true fraternity, there is no true com¬munion, if there is no corresponding concrete mutual help. The Letter of James is also explicit in this regard: “If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill’, and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? [So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.]” (James 2.15-16). Not by chance does Paul speak of this collection as a “service in favour of the saints.” Solidarity among the disciples is itself holy, and renders holy those who practise it. The exhortation of the apostle, which shows so clearly the importance of links between the different communities, should be lived and accepted with great readiness in Christian communities at the beginning of this new millennium. Globalisation, which has brought the disciples of Jesus to communicate the Gospel in every part of the world, must impel the Christian community towards a globalisation of solidarity among all. And attention should be turned especially towards those communities which live in situations of greater difficulty. Paul exhorts the Corinthians explicitly to overcome every temptation of avarice. That is why, besides Titus, he has sent others “so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion” (v. 5). Their gift will be like a seed of generosity that will bring an abundant harvest of love in the entire community.