Giving Breaks Barriers
Tuesday: Tenth Week of the Year: June 7, 2016
Year II: 1Kings 17:7-16; Psalm 4:2-8; Matthew 5:13-16
The Responsorial Psalm asks: “Lord, let your face shine on us” (Psalm 4). If we truly know God — if we “see his face” — we will both receive light and reflect light. Everybody wins.
In 1Kings 17: 7-16 God sends Elijah to a poor widow so that she can take care of him. But it works both ways. Because she had enough trust and love to provide for him out of her inadequate resources — she and her child were facing starvation! — God made sure she and her son were provided for also.
With God, “what goes around comes around.” Jesus says in Luke 6:38: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.”
That is easy to believe when we give from our abundance. But what about giving when we ourselves do not have enough to live on? Or enough energy to get through the day? Or enough faith ourselves to build up others’ faith? Hardly enough feeling for the Church ourselves to stay in it, much less invite others?
Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you.” The “jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the LORD sends rain on the earth.” Your faith and love will last until he renews your devotion.
In Matthew 5: 13-16 Jesus shocks us. He says, “You are the light of the world!” Is that how you think of yourself? Of the rest of the Church? When we pray, “Lord, let your face shine on us,” Jesus answers: “I will do it through your face. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your Father in heaven.”
For this it is not enough to keep the rules. Pope Paul VI pinpointed the principle of Christian witness: “The first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian life” by people who “radiate faith in values that go beyond current values…. [who] stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live: Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? What or who is it that inspires them?” (Evangelization in the Modern World, nos. 14, 41). This is what it means to be the “light of the world.”
What about all the people — including Christians disenfranchised by choice — who have lost their taste for “religion”? Or who never did “taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8) — at least not in church? If for them the “salt has lost its taste, how can its flavor be restored?”
Jesus is counting on us to do that. By living the Gospel radically — that is, authentically. By becoming so filled with the light of his truth ourselves that it will shine out in our actions and “give light to all in the house.” And to all outside as well! For this we need to be disciples and prophets.
Initiative: Give God’s life: Be the light of the world. Look on the face of God in the Gospels until his face shines in you.