Equality…       more or less 01Jul2018

St. Paul’s words at the end of the second reading may seem a bit puzzling. Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less. They are from the book of Exodus, 18:16, and they refer to the gathering of manna in the desert. Some would gather more and some would gather less but it would all be measured out so that each family received an omer—about 2-1/2 quarts—per person, enough to make a fitting meal for everyone. In short, they shared.

Paul makes this reference to instruct the Corinthians in the virtue of sharing, that your abundance at the present time should supply their needs, so that their abundance may also supply your needs, that there may be equality. It’s an admonition for a spirit of charity, but is not always measurable.

We often consider charity in quantifiable terms, like omer, and this kind of charity should be obvious and part of life, but could we look at Paul’s words in another light? In the Gospel we hear of two people who approach Jesus seeking a cure: Jairus, a rich synagogue official and a nameless woman who had spent all that she had. What have they in common?

Both seek cures and both approach Jesus with Faith. For both of them, their financial resources have accomplished nothing. Their financial inequality is meaningless. They both approach Jesus with a poverty of spirit. They are both at the end of their ropes and are desperate. Their Faith becomes a point of sharing with others who, seeing their Faith and the cures that Jesus works, in turn come to believe. We cannot quantify this just as we cannot measure the spiritual, moral and emotional good our charity provides.

Deacon Richard

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