June 17, 2015
St. Paul said, “God loves a cheerful giver. Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” 2_Cor_9:6-11
Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; . . . your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” Mt_6:1-6, 16-18
I think Jesus made His point pretty clear in today’s Gospel. We are not supposed to make a big show of our oblations, or offerings to God, in order to puff ourselves up in boastful pride.
And I don’t think that we, Catholics, really have an issue with this today. On the contrary, those of us who DO give of our time or treasure, are maybe – a little too quiet about it . . . at least from the point of getting other people excited about giving, as well.
But in the time of Jesus, it WAS an issue, because from what we read in the Scriptures, the religious leaders were all about puffing themselves up, while bringing everyone else down. So Jesus’ point was not only appropriate, but it was greatly needed, because the example of the Pharisees was NOT the right model for others to be following.
St. Paul, on the other hand, faced a totally different dilemma. After having built the Church community in Corinth, Paul later came to find out that dissension had broken out against him, and many of the believers were losing their faith. So, much of the writing of this Second Letter to the Corinthians was aimed at clearing up misconceptions and getting the Church back on track, both, in their understanding of Jesus’ mission, and in their responsibility to the ‘Larger Church.’
Yesterday we heard how Paul used the example of the Macedonians, who gave, even out of their poverty. And today, continuing in his plea for alms for the hurting Church in Jerusalem, Paul tells the Corinthians how their giving will multiply back to them – just like the loaves and fish that Jesus multiplied for His faithful followers; and just like the growth of that little mustard seed we heard about a couple of days ago; and, in the same way that every ounce of kindness that WE extend to others will multiply in our own lives.
When we build our lives on a Foundation of Giving, through our Fasting, and Almsgiving and Prayer, no matter how small these little ramshackle huts of ours may seem here and now, we ARE truly building a Castle for that eternal Life of paradise in God’s Kingdom.
And that, Jesus tells us,
we can count on!
________________________end of post