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Archive for December 7th, 2019


2 Corinthians 8:1-15: Equality in Generosity

Saturday, December 7, 2019

For in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.  (Verse 2)

In the “feel good” society in which we live, we are conditioned to regard affliction as something to be avoided, something to move past and beyond quickly.  Somewhere on the Damascus Road St. Paul met Christ who brought him the message that one who follows the Messiah sees the inverse of this concept.  We find our wealth in our poverty, we find joy in pain, we find living water in the desert, we find life through death.

I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others.  (Verse 8)

We ought not to seek affliction.  This is not healthy.  Anyway, affliction has a way of landing on the doorstep of every human being.  We may choose to step over this affliction each morning as we set off for work and prayer and play.  We may choose to allow Christ’s compassion to move us in healing the afflictions of others – and in so doing, become healed.

For if your eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have; . . .  (Verse 12)

We ought not to meddle in the affairs of others or to be distraught about an affliction which only God can heal.  This is forgetting our proper place in our social and spiritual worlds.  The God who has made us knows our promise and potential.  Our God expects us to rise to this potential planted in us.  This is how we bloom

. . . not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your surplus at the present time should supply their needs, so that their surplus may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.  (Verse 13)

The mystery of God is this . . . that in giving we receive . . . in sharing our wealth overflows . . . in putting aside anxiety for ourselves we are better able to share compassion with others.  Paul reminds us of how when the Hebrews gathered manna in the desert, all were fed.  None starved.

As it is written: “Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less”.  (Verse 15)

Our concern for the poor and marginalized in the world is easily handled by sending aid to those who have less.  Are we as quick to serve one who suffers from depression or anxiety?  Do we allow God to work through us when we meet those who have left the practice of prayer behind and are casting about looking for some firm place to stand?  Do we witness for Christ when we meet poverty in all its forms?  Do we step forward eagerly to give . . . so that others may have . . . so that all may increase in Jesus’ name?

As members of the Mystical Body we receive by giving, we live by dying.  Anxiety, fear, poverty of any kind does not exist . . . because we all know how to give . . . in fearless expectation of equality.


Written on October 26, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.bluewolf.com/blog/what-are-your-5-packets-generosity

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