Thursday of the 18th Week of Ordinary Time
Feast of Saint Lawrence
August 10, 2017
Beloved Lord Jesus: You know that many times my agenda and my passions take control of my life. I surrender to You my mind and my senses so that, placed in You and free from my limitations, they may follow our Father’s perfect paths. Amen.
Our first reading today emphasizes how important, how holy, how essential it is to be generous. So then, why do we have such difficulty with taking risks in generosity? It's because we think, consciously or unconsciously: "God cannot or will not multiply his favors for me, he is not able to make every grace abundant for me. Maybe for someone else, but not me."
Jesus says in today's Gospel reading that to produce much fruit, we have to be like a grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies. To be generous, what has to fall into the soil and die is our fear that we'll be too generous, i.e., that God will not be equally generous with us when it's our own time of need.
Let's turn our perspective around. We assume that these verses from 2nd Corinthians mean: "I'm supposed to be generous; therefore, if I am generous, God won't let me end up homeless and starving." But that's scary, and it's not what these verses are saying. It's the reverse: "I'm supposed to be generous; therefore God will give me an abundance of whatever he wants me to give away."
Ahhh, that gets us off the hook, right? If we don't have an abundance, we can keep what we do have for ourselves. Oops! The world has conditioned us to feel dissatisfied with however much we have. In reality, we have much more than we think we do.
Look at what he's given you. There are others who don't have as much.
If you're able to pay all the bills that are necessary for the basic needs of life, and if you have anything left over, God has chosen you to be his partner in distributing his wealth. If you're growing vegetables in your garden, enjoy giving it out to your neighbors as a distributor of God's harvest. If you've got time for daytime television shows, you are the answer to prayer for those who are short on time.
What else has he given to you abundantly? Love, insights, wisdom, valuable learning experiences, whatever you're talented in, the training you've had, perhaps even a swimming pool and a barbecue grill for parties, or a house with unused bedrooms.
When someone asks God for help and no help comes, it's not because God has failed. It's because we who have been given what they need are failing to do our job as distributors of his abundance.
Jesus, who multiplied bread and fish, multiplies our gifts so that we have enough to share. Jesus meets our needs and makes plenty of leftovers for others.
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