FIRST READING: 2 Corinthians 8: 1 - 9
1 We want you to know, brethren, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedo'nia,
2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part.
3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will,
4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints --
5 and this, not as we expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
6 Accordingly we have urged Titus that as he had already made a beginning, he should also complete among you this gracious work.
7 Now as you excel in everything -- in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us -- see that you excel in this gracious work also.
8 I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.
9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.
PSALM: Psalms 146: 2, 5 - 9
2 I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being.
5 Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
GOSPEL: Matthew 5: 43 - 48
43 "You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
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