Posted by: fvbcdm | June 27, 2013

Feast of Saint Josemaria Escriva (26 June 2013)

 I would like to call to your attention the second reading for the Mass of this Sunday, taken from Saint Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.  It seems to me that it doesn’t receive the attention that it deserves. Saint Paul is concerned about the poverty of his fellow-Christians in Jerusalem, and so he is taking up a collection among the Christians in Corinth to help the Jerusalem group. To encourage the Corinthians to be generous, he reminds them, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” He goes on to say that “at the present time you should supply their needs, so that THEIR ABUNDANCE may also supply your needs . . .”Now, what is this abundance among the Jerusalem Christians that Saint Paul refers to and which counterbalances the abundance of the Corinthians? It is the very poverty of the members of the Jerusalem community. In the mind of Saint Paul, poverty can be a form of abundance because it gives those who are more affluent the opportunity to practice charity to the needy. If there were no poor on earth, we could not practice generosity. If there were no sick or suffering, we could not practice healing or mercy or compassion. If no one offended us, we could not practice forgiveness, which is very important since Jesus teaches us to pray: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive. . .” That is why the saints have welcomed opportunities to forgive, to be charitable, to be concerned, compassionate, to do what they could to heal, to do good.

Years ago there was in the Poor Clare monastery of Jerusalem a sick and elderly nun who required much attention from her Sisters, and it was not a numerous community. Our Lord used to appear to her and speak to her, and one day she asked him either to cure her or to take her to Himself in death since she was such a burden to her sisters. His answer was “No. Your needs bring out the best in your sisters and give them the opportunity to exercise charity and mercy. This is the greatest gift that I can give to your community to help them grow in holiness. And so, you will remain alive and ill, and thus serve Me and your sisters.”

We need to think of this regularly. Whether we ourselves are needy and require service, or whether we are responsible for the needs and requirements of someone near to us, let us try to see the neediness as “an abundance” as Saint Paul calls it, and realize the goodness of God in giving these needs and the opportunities to minister to them. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  Father Brown composed this message some years ago.


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