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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Pope Francis Encourages Christians to Tithe Cheerfully, God Will Give Blessings in Return

In a powerful message heading into the Lenten season, Pope Francis encouraged Christians Tuesday to tithe cheerfully to God as whatever they invest in the pursuit of Jesus will be returned a hundred times more.

During morning mass in the Casa Santa Marta, Francis highlighted the story of the rich young man in Mark 10:17–31 to drive home his message that Christiasn cannot serve God and money at the same time. In the story, the rich man wanted to follow Jesus but chose the lure of his wealth instead.

"Jesus' words in this story worry the disciples, as he tells them it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven," Pope Francis said, according to Vatican Radio.

"We see Peter asking the Lord what will happen to them, as they have given up everything to follow Him. It's almost as if Peter is passing Jesus the bill," Pope Francis said.

"Peter didn't know what to say: the young man has gone his way, but what about us?" Francis asked.

He added, "I tell you there is no-one who has given up everything and has not received everything. You will receive everything, in that overflowing measure with which God gives his gifts."

Pope Francis then pointed to Jesus' reply in Mark 10:29–30.

"There is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel, who will not receive a hundred times more, now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come," Francis quoted.

"The Lord is incapable of giving less than everything," the Pope said. "When He gives us something, He gives all of Himself."

The pontiff further explained, according to Vatican Radio, that the Christians way of being was to seek and receive a fullness which is emptied out, and to follow that path is not easy.

"How do we recognize that we are following this path of giving everything in order to receive everything?" Francis asked.

"Pay homage to the Lord, and do not spare your freewill gifts. With each contribution show a cheerful countenance, and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy. Give to the Most High as He has given to you, generously, according to your means," Francis said, reading the words of the first reading of the day.

He then explained that "a cheerful face and eyes full of joy," are signs that follow Christians who give their all to God.

"The rich young man's face fell and he became very sad, because he was not capable of receiving and welcoming this fullness emptied out, but the saints and Peter were able to receive it. Amid all their trials and difficulties, they had cheerful faces and hearts full of joy," said Francis.



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