Paul talks about the “collection for the saints” (v1). He asks everyone to save what they can for this gift they make. This is actually a collection for the hierarchy in Jerusalem (3). It sounds like what people gave was made known to the hierarchy. It is so important to give to the church community in the collection basket, the church local so the Bishop can do what is needed as well as to the worldwide church, so that she can grow the faithful and fruitfulness of God in the world today.
We Catholics have a hard row to hoe. We have an obligation to financially give money to our community church so that we may function in paying our bills and go out into the community to help those around us. Then we also have an obligation to give at the level of the diocese we live in locally. They also need to pay their bills as they serve us in supplying priests, deacons, education and many other professional resources that our government demands. That is not to mention how they help coordinate the ministries in serving the poor. Then we also have an obligation to support the Church at large to help those in less fortunate areas in the world and spread the good news that God has revealed Himself to us as He really is in Jesus. God has been so good to us. His death on the cross for us is not just to save us from eternal suffering. He suffered to bring us to heaven with Him. He desires us to experience His love and goodness for all eternity! His generosity can never be outdone.
Paul then turns to those who are hearing this message. He wants to spend time with them. He wants to show them how much he cares because Jesus has shown him how much He cares. The gospel message is not just words. This spending time is not a chance to exercise power, but to be a loving father to them and comfort them. He wants to love them and form them to love each other, to “do everything with love” (14). It is interesting how Paul talks directly to men in particular about this. Men are called to be full of faith and love. How far men have fallen from this calling.
If you are a man, are you a man of faith and love? If you have children, do they recognize you as being a man of faith? Are sports more important than your faith? Is work more important than your faith? Where do you lead your family? Men are called to a life of service (16). If you are married, you are called to serve your wife. If you have children, you serve your children as well. But even a single man is called to serve the church and community. We learn by doing. Grace happens by doing as well. “They have refreshed my spirit as they did yours” (18). When we cooperate with God’s will in our lives and form a habit as such, God moves people. When we serve, it is a generosity of the body. We give God our time and He gives His grace. It is a grace you can win for your wife for those who are married. There is no greater gift than a woman full of grace.
Men, you must have faith. It is not the job of the woman to pray you into heaven. It is your job to be Christ to them, that they may have faith along with your children. Heaven forbid if we become an obstacle, hindering them to know the goodness of the father in heaven, of the love of the eternal bridegroom. Though we may fall short of this lofty goal, God is still good and continues to call you to such greatness.
As brothers and sisters, we are all called to such great heights. Hopefully, one day, we shall greet each other as brothers and sisters in the home of our Father. “The favor of the Lord be with you”! (v23).