Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
(II Corinthians 8:1-9; Matthew 5:43-48)
In order to promote charitable giving among his peers Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates started a list of the biggest donors every year. He thought that if people liked to see their names among the year’s biggest earners, they might also want to be named the biggest philanthropists. St. Paul uses a similar scheme to raise money from the Corinthian Christians in today’s first reading.
Paul first mentions the example of the people of Macedonia, the province to the north of the Greek isles. He says that although they are of modest means, they begged for the opportunity to support the poor in Jerusalem. The implication is manifest. The far better off Christians in Corinth should be even more willing to donate to the cause. Evidently the Corinthians delivered as Paul will take a considerable sum of money to Jerusalem when he finally goes.
We often feel uncomfortable about giving because we do not know exactly what the money will be used for. We don’t mind it going to buy food for the hungry but feel unsure about giving it to beggars on street corners who are apt to buy whiskey or marijuana. It seems best to contribute to organizations that have a record of assisting the poor. The important consideration is that we don’t just have the intention of helping the poor but actually do so with regularity.