Second Collections: A Reflection

This month we do not have a dedicated second  collection, which presents me with a unique opportunity to share with you my personal thoughts on the Church’s Second Collections. Our Lord Jesus revealed to his disciples they would not always have him, but the poor would be with them always. In this declaration, our Lord revealed that we are not in danger of losing or forgetting Him. We are assured that even though Jesus would be absent to us in his death, he would be present to us in his resurrection. Even in his physical absence we are not deprived of an opportunity of doing something personally for him.  Our Lord is spiritually and physically present to us in the people and lives of those who are poor and in need.

My parents passed this belief in the abiding presence of the Lord Jesus on to me, my 10 siblings and their grandchildren. As poor as we were, our parents taught us to 1) be grateful for what we had; and 2) remember that we were called by God to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. When our Lord revealed “the poor you will have with you always,” He was not being melodramatic, defeated nor pessimistic.  The Lord Jesus has revealed to us an enduring opportunity to experience, love and serve him.

When Holy Mother Church presents these second or “special” collections to us, She is faithfully reminding us to: 1) be grateful for what we have; and 2) remember that we are called by God to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. The Church does not assume we are all flushed with money and need something to do with it, but knows Her numerous children live the full range of financial reality from the lowest abject poverty to the highest abundant wealth. The Church, through the voice of her pope and his brother bishops, calls us to be grateful and helpful out of love for our Lord.

There is a song that is sung at Mass, often at the offertory or during the distribution of communion which says, “All that we have, and all that we offer, comes from a heart both frightened and free. Take what we bring now, and give what we need, all done in His name.”  That song expresses the full gamut of our poverty and our wealth, that we are grateful and giving.  It reveals that in our abject poverty, abundant wealth, and every place  in between, we have something to offer “for our good and the good of all God’s holy Church.”

The second collections the pope and bishops ask us to contribute to are our opportunity to show the Lord Jesus that we love him. We make our love for the Lord concrete when we minister to Him in the life and needs of His poor ones. If you want to do something “meaningful” for the Lord, then “feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep. The poor you will have with you always.”  How difficult for them; but, what a salvific opportunity for us!  “Whatsoever you do for the least of My people, that you do unto Me.”

Fr. Rothell Price, Vicar General, is the Director of Special Collections.

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