16th June 2021
2 Cor 9: 6-11;
Ps 112: 1bc-2, 3-4, 9;
Mt 6: 1-6, 16-18
HAPPINESS IS NOT MADE BY WHAT WE OWN: IT IS WHAT WE SHARE
God will not be outdone in generosity. In the First Reading today, St. Paul continues to exhort the faithful in Corinth to be gracious in their care of the less fortunate. Not only are they to give, but they are to give abundantly and with a joyful heart. Giving should not be the result of an obligation. It should flow from having been graced with so much from a gracious God. Giving is not the cause of God’s favour, but God’s favour should be the stimulus to giving. God is always the author of all Good. “Being Good” is not to win God’s blessings. Rather because God is kind and merciful and people have experienced the magnanimity of God, they should want to share what they have been given. This should be done with the same joy God
manifests in divine giving.
Jesus once again reminds His disciples that three marks (signs) of His followers are almsgiving, praying, and fasting. These three disciplines are not limited to the penitential season of Lent, but should be the regular training and practice of Jesus’ disciples at all times. Not only are the three activities important, but the spirit and mode of implementing them are also important. One should perform these disciplines, not so that others will see the person performing them, but because they are fitting responses to a relationship with the GOD who sees and knows all.
As I reflect on the readings, I think about great athletes or truly outstanding entertainers. The amount of work, practice, and training that is involved in becoming a star is not usually seen. Yet the truly magnificent performers don’t just perform. They spend hours going over their routine until they are able to act graceful with seemingly no effort. Yes, it is true that some individuals are given talents naturally, but it still takes practice and a great amount of repetitive work to develop their art into graceful presentation.
What this means to me is three-fold:
1. I must realize the gifts and abilities God has given me;
2. I must enhance those gifts by my repeated training and
3. I must use those gifts, not just for my own benefit, but for
the benefit of others, helping individuals, and bringing
them the Good News that God has gifted them also.
Being able to ascertain one’s gifts, talents, and abilities is an act of a humble person. A truly humble person is honest about the particular skills and abilities one has. At the same time, the sincerely honest person realizes that his/her talents are gifts from God, the ultimate Gift Giver. Most skills, even those innate ones, must be honed and refined through practice. It takes time and effort to enhance one’s abilities to the point of being able to act gracefully and graciously. Training involves the whole person – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. The spiritual part demands that we turn to the Giver of all Gifts and seek divine guidance in knowing when and how and with whom to use the gifts.
In 1 Corinthians 12: 7, St. Paul reminds us that gifts (talents, abilities, skills) are given for the common good. We are gifted not so much that we can gain personal fame, wealth, or prestige, but that we can edify and build up each other. Part of the responsibility of being gifted is that we pass on the gifts (or the result of the gifts) we have been given, so that others can benefit from them also. If everyone had this attitude there would be no despots, tyrants, or dictators. There also would be greater sense of community and communal sharing.
The result of our awareness of the gifts we have received, our disciplined training, and our sharing with others is that we and others will be aware of the abundance graciousness of our God Who will not be outdone in gift giving. Then today’s words of Paul will ring true:
“You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which, through us, produces thanksgiving to GOD.”