Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Corinthians 8,1-9

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.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul felt a debt of gratitude to the "mother" community of Jerusalem that was passing through a particularly difficult time. With 2000 years gap we should feel a similar debt in face of the drama that the land of Jesus is living. Paul had organized a collection in the communities he founded. In this way, Paul expressed a just the solidarity of other communities with the one in Jerusalem and with the apostles. Christian fraternity, as already highlighted in the "summaries" of the Acts of the Apostles that describe the life of the community, was also made of mutual concrete aid. Participating in the collection, as it was the case for the communities of Macedonia that were quite poor, meant to take part in an extraordinary grace because to love those in need enriches those who give more than those who receive. As Jesus himself said, according to what Paul himself reports to the Ephesian elders: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). The Macedonians had understood the meaning of Gospel love: indeed not only did they offer something, but - as Paul says: "Not merely as 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. And he asks the Corinthians: "Now 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). For Christians the commandment of love springs from the very example of Jesus who "though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich." The disciples must look to the Lord so that they may realize the exchange of gifts that does not leave anyone destitute. Here is the substance of Christian fellowship, a communion in faith that offers help and support even at the economic level. 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 in these communities should benefit the needs of the community of Jerusalem, so that no one may lack what is necessary and there may be equality of gifts in God's grace.