Second Letter to the Corinthians 8:1-9.
We want you to know, brothers and sisters, of the grace of God that has been given to the churches of Macedonia,
for in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.
For according to their means, I can testify, and beyond their means, spontaneously,
they begged us insistently for the favor of taking part in the service to the holy ones,
and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and to us through the will of God,
so that we urged Titus that, as he had already begun, he should also complete for you this gracious act also.
Now as you excel in every respect, in faith, discourse, knowledge, all earnestness, and in the love we have for you, may you excel in this gracious act also.
I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others.
For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that for your sake he became poor although he was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
Praise the LORD, my soul!
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD, his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
the sea and all that is in them.
Who keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
The LORD gives sight to the blind.
The LORD raises up those who were bowed down;
the LORD loves the just.
The LORD protects strangers.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ
according to Saint Matthew 5:43-48.Jesus said to his disciples: "You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."
"He makes his sun rise on the bad and the good"
Proclaim the goodness of God. For even while you are unworthy, he guides you; and when you owe him everything, he asks for nothing back; and in return for the little things you do for him, he repays you with great things. Therefore do not simply call God "just" since it is not with regard to what you yourself do that he reveals his justice. If David calls him just and right (Ps 33,5), his Son has revealed to us that he is yet more kind and gentle: “He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked,” (Lk 6,35).
How can you possibly remain at the level of God's simple justice when you read the chapter about the workmen's wages? “My friend, I am not cheating you. I wish to give this last one the same as you. Are you envious because I am generous?” (Mt 20,13-15). How can one say no more than that God is just when one reads the chapter about the prodigal son who squandered his father's wealth in a life of dissipation and how, at the merest sign of compunction shown by him, his father ran to him, threw his arms round him and granted him full rights over all his wealth? (cf Lk 15,11ff.). It was not some other who told us all this about God, causing us to have doubts about it. It is his Son in person; he himself gave this testimony concerning God. So where is God's justice to be found? Is it not in this: “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Rom 5,8)? If God reveals himself to be compassionate here below then let us believe that he will be so for all eternity.