The story is told of a husband and wife who in their travels attended Mass in a Catholic Church of the Eastern Rite.  The ceremonies were quite different from what they were used to in their home parish, but at one point the ushers began to take up the collection.  At that the man turned to his wife and whispered; “Now I know we are in a Catholic church!”

Many parish priests will tell you that they hate to talk about money.  And yet Saint Paul doesn’t hesitate to urge the Corinthians to contribute generously to a collection that was being taken up for the poor in Jerusalem.  He even presented to the Corinthians the motive that the Philippians in Macedonia had not only given generously beyond their means to this collection but had even begged him for the privilege of helping the less fortunate members of the church.

Then Saint Paul presented to the Corinthians the ultimate motive for generosity.  He reminded them that the Lord Jesus for their sake made himself poor though he was rich so that they might become rich by his poverty.  Our Lord gave up the riches of his divinity to enter the poverty of humanity so that we might enjoy the wealth of his divinity.

All this teaches us that our generosity must exclude no one.  In Our Lord’s day love of neighbour was of the essence of the Law, but the term ‘neighbour’ was restricted to those of one’s own country and religion.  Our Lord taught that neighbour means everyone without exception.   Because of the generosity of Our Lord towards us, we must always be generous in helping those who are in need.


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