Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
(II Corinthians 8:1-9; Matthew 5:43-48)
Once a young man was entertaining tourists at a cable car terminal in San Francisco. He was so humorous that the people actually asked if they might give something for his efforts. The man at first feigned refusal and then, of course, accepted their gifts. In the second reading today St. Paul endeavors to make the Corinthians feel similarly compelled to make contributions to the collection he is taking up for the poor in Jerusalem.
A reform-minded politician claims that money is a lot like fertilizer in that it has to be spread around before it does any good. Certainly Christians have every reason not to hoard it. As Paul intimates here, since Christ has been super-generous with us, we should look for ways to assist others. With plenty of stories about misuse of donations, we are naturally cautious about giving money to anyone who claims a need. But this concern should not make us uncharitable. Indeed, many of us are quite capable of discerning genuine needs and assisting economically those who have them. Paul makes it clear that we have a duty in Christ to do so.