Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Gift of Giving

Reflections on the Readings

October 25, 2015 - Year B

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

by Dennis S. Hankins

Readings for today

The Gift of Giving

The poor widows in the readings of today remind us what it means to love God more! 

They show us the richness of their faith- a faith that moves them to embrace the reality of things not seen. For faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

Generosity is a word that rightly describes the Christian. For by faith Christians and many moved by compassion have built hospitals and schools, and sent medical supplies and water and food to the ends of the earth. And sometimes when supplies seemed not enough often became more than enough in the hands of him who multiplied the loves and the fishes.  The widows of today's readings inspire us to  trust more in God, to desire more to participate in His generous love for the least among us!  What does it mean to love God more?  It may mean that we trust God to meet our needs, even when we do more to make sure our brothers and sisters are adequately assisted.

Putting God first with all that we have, with all our body and soul is not easy, but it does liberate us from being selfish and self centered.  

I have met such people of God whose goodness and generosity have impacted me and my family in recent days.  How near God has been to us in the generosity of those who have reached out and embraced us in the love of God.  All of us are called to give, to let our light shine , to share what we can.  John Wesley, the Anglican priest who was the founder of the Methodist Church said, "Make all you can, save all you can, then give all you can."  I take that to mean, work hard, be frugal, and then be generous.  As we share with others, we are called by God to be cheerful in what we give, and then watch Him as He shows us His pleasure and gratitude, as He pours out upon us and our family His blessings such as there may not be enough room to receive it.  (Malachi 3:10)

The lesson of the readings is this:  It will all work out for us in the end, especially if He finds in us a generous heart, a compassionate spirit, and a desire to help where we can and give all we can. For Jesus himself appears in heaven itself to intercede for us with compassion for all that concerns us.  O what a Savior!  Let our giving be in the name of Him who emptied himself for us men and for our salvation. No, we can't outgive the Lord, but we can be filled with the sacred heart of Jesus in all we do.

Now an update since my surgery:  Words are not enough to explain how deeply my family and I have been touched by your sacrificial giving and the assurance of your prayers.   Since my brain cancer surgery, the nearness of God has been evident.  I'm in my fourth week of radiation and chemo therapy.  Blood work confirms that my chemo treatment has not adversely affected my blood count, kidneys, or liver.  There's more to go, but I wanted to thank God and you especially for storming heaven in my behalf.  How grateful I am for your prayers which continue to embrace me and my family.  Receive our love, and we hope that in all ways you are blessed by Him who gives us himself in bread, which is His body and the chalice which is His blood.  Amen! 

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