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Tuesday, August 10, 1999

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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 challenges our churches to do the same. He counsels us to consider selling church furniture and decorations and give the money to the poor at home and in the Third World (On Social Concern, 31).

We will encounter 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 usually the opposite of God's response. The average person, human institutions, and 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 sold the Church's sacred vessels and gave the money to the poor.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 22, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 24, 1999