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Friday, August 10, 2007

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St. Lawrence

2 Corinthians 9:6-10
Psalm 112
John 12:24-26

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giving living

"He scattered abroad and gave to the poor, his justice endures forever." —2 Corinthians 9:9

Lawrence is known for giving everything away to the poor. In contrast to the young rich man, Lawrence obeyed Jesus' command: "Go and sell what you have and give to the poor" (Mk 10:21). He even sold his church's sacred vessels and gave the money to the poor.

Amazingly, Pope John Paul II challenged our churches to do the same. In his letter on social concerns, he counseled us to consider selling church furniture and decorations and giving the money to the poor at home and in the Third World (On Social Concern, #31).

We will get two reactions to this gospel spirit of generosity. God is pleased with our service to the poor. He "loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor 9:7). He promises to multiply the seed we sow and increase our generous yield (2 Cor 9:10). He will provide in abundance, and we "will reap bountifully" (2 Cor 9:10, 6).

However, man's reaction to our generosity is often the opposite of God's response. The average person, human institutions, and sometimes even churches, violently oppose sowing bountifully by way of the poor. Lawrence was martyred, and we might join him if we suggest that our churches divert a significant part of their budget to the poor of the Third World.

Prayer:  Father, lead me into a new dimension of financial giving.

Promise:  "I solemnly assure you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat. But if it dies, it produces much fruit." —Jn 12:24

Praise:  St. Lawrence, six fellow deacons, and their Pope, St. Sixtus II, were martyred as a result of Roman persecution. Lawrence approached his martyrdom with charity, cheerfulness, and great courage.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 14, 2007

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