The WORD in Other Words by Fr Benigno Beltran SVD (Philippines) for Monday Week 34 in Ordinary Time
Counting the collection after Mass in Smokey Mountain, I always felt as if I was on holy ground near the burning bush on Mt. Sinai (Ex. 3:15). The coins were all marred and blackened, picked up by the old ladies and very young children while they were scavenging in the trash heaps. The coins were all they had, but they placed them reverently in the collection box instead of buying food to fill their hungry stomachs or clothing to cover their bronzed backs. They sacrificed what little they had, their last resource to live on. Jesus called this real giving, giving from their poverty, not their abundance, offering more than they could afford to give.
Their generosity despite their reduced circumstances always reminded me that true worship of God demands care of and justice to society‘s neediest and weakest members, like widows and orphans. Their generosity also reminds me of the generosity of Jesus, who gave his life in service to all. Giving is the antidote to greed, the armor against being mired in materialism. It is the sure way to protect our hearts against selfishness and avarice.
God does not look at things as human beings do. Usually people see the value of the gift given, not noticing the sacrifice that went into the giving, like the sacrifice of the widow in today‘s gospel. What others gave came from their excess. They will not miss what they tossed into the collection box. st. Paul says that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:8). In 2 Cor, 8:12, he wrote, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” Our attitude in giving is more important than the amount.
God‘s grace is the basis for our giving. Our generosity is to be a visible expression of the impact of the Gospel in our lives. Our generosity results from our joy — the progression should be from grace, to joy, to generosity. Our joy and our generosity prove that grace was not given to us in vain. One expression of Christian joy in God‘s grace that brings him greater glory is our giving freely and generously to others.
What does giving until it hurts mean to you? Have you ever given beyond your last available resources and God saw you through? Is your primary aim in giving the advancement of God‘s glory within his world?