Giving Everything

You’re walking down the city sidewalk, and a homeless man begs for help. You reach into your pocket and grab the spare change and toss it in his hat. You feel good about yourself for not ignoring the man and go about your day satisfied. You never miss the loose change that was in your pocket. Did you really give him anything?

Whether it is giving to a homeless man on the sidewalk or placing our ‘dollar’ in the tray on Sunday, if we are giving from our spare change, we aren’t really giving anything. Sure, we feel good because everyone watches our grand gesture of reaching into our pocket and pulling out a dollar. Unless that dollar is coming from what we need, have we really given anything?

On the other hand, when we need that money to put food on our table, and we give some to the homeless man on the sidewalk, then we truly have given from ourselves instead of from our excess. Giving from what we need is only possible when we love.

When it comes to giving, I’m not just thinking about money. Money, food, clothing, even time, are things we give to others. In every case, if we don’t need what we have given in the first place, we haven’t really given anything.

The Lord said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and love salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers.  They will receive the greater condemnation.”  He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins.  And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.”  Having said this, he proclaimed, “He who has ears let him hear.”

Luke 20:46-47; 21:1-4

In today’s Gospel lesson, it was the widow who Christ honored as the one who gave everything. She needed every penny she had to survive but she gave to the Temple anyway. She did this because she loved God.

When we love, we don’t feel resentful about what we give. We don’t keep a tally of what we give. We don’t expect to receive anything in return. When we go to the market we give, to receive something in return. When we love, we just give.

Consider what you will give to God today. If you say you love God, then give Him something from what you need. Take time away from your busy schedule, risking that you may not complete all your tasks today, and pray. When it comes to money, look at your last paycheck and set aside 10% for the Church.

At the end of today’s Gospel lesson Christ says, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” I invite you to allow today’s reading to sink into your heart. Giving from what we need always requires love. The only question is, who do you love?

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