Raising money is an age-old church endeavor, and the worry that even generous pledges of financial support will not materialize is a constant fear of pastors going back as far as Saint Paul. In today’s second reading, Paul gently chastises the early Christian community he founded in Corinth for not following through on their previous commitment to assist the mother Church located in Jerusalem.
First, he tries to embarrass them by comparing their parsimony to the generosity of far less affluent churches in the area. Next, he compares the charity he is requesting to the gracious act of Christ dying on the cross. Just as he who was rich voluntarily made himself poor for the salvation of the human race, we too should imitate the Lord by spending ourselves for the sake of others.
Finally, Paul refers to the famous story in the Book of Exodus in which God sent manna from heaven to feed his people wandering in the desert (16:18). Just as the Israelites gathered the manna such that some collected more, some less, but in the end none having too little or too much, the blessings God rains down on the world today also should be shared equally. As Paul explains, “your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may [one day] also supply your needs, that there may be equality” (2 Corinthians 8:14).
Count your blessings today and set aside a generous portion for the poor in want of material needs and for the Church in its work to enrich impoverished hearts through the preaching of the Gospel, so that all may be equal in the prosperity of God.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
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