instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, July 03, 2015

While I'm at it

Two quick notes on the other two readings from last Sunday:

The Second Reading, 2 Cor 8:7,9,13-15, ends a bit obscurely:
As it is written:
Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less.
The reference is to Exodus 16, in which the Israelites are commanded to gather one omer (about 9.3 cups) of manna per person.
Some gathered a large and some a small amount. But when they measured it out by the omer, the one who had gathered a large amount did not have too much, and the one who had gathered a small amount did not have too little. They gathered as much as each needed to eat.
St. Paul is relating the wealth of the Corinthian Christians to the manna the LORD supplied the Israelites in the desert. That seems to play out to an extraordinarily radical view of wealth, but in its source -- provided by God, lying their on the ground for you to collect -- and its destination -- to be given to others until everyone has as much as each needs to eat (in these lax days, we might say "to live in dignity").

Exodus 16 goes on to say:
Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.”
But they did not listen to Moses, and some kept a part of it over until morning, and it became wormy and stank.
A word to the wise about the hoarding of riches.

Of course, manna also prefigures the Eucharist, so 2 Corinthians indirectly intertwines the Sacrament and "the ministry of charity [that is] part of the fundamental structure of the Church."

What jumped out at me when listening to the Gospel proclamation were these words of Jesus, to the woman who was healed of the hemorrhage:
"Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."
He said this after she was healed. This wasn't like the lepers who were healed on their way to the priests. This woman's miracle of healing had already occurred.

But she had spent the previous twelve years being ill. Her time, her money, her attention had all been consumed. What I got out of hearing those words of Jesus is that He was telling her to live as a person who has been cured by Him. The remaining years of her life were not to be consumed by memory of the illness, or sorrow over all she lost during that time, or resentment at the doctors who bumbled their way through her money. She was freed from the prison of her illness, and she was not to remain in the cell after Jesus opened the door.

On the other hand, to be cured isn't the same as to never have been ill. Gratitude for being cured is part of being cured, as well as humility and a readily acknowledged dependence on the One Who cured her.

"Go in peace and be cured of your affliction" seems like what Jesus says as we leave the confessional, too.