Monday, Second Week of Lent
In today’s gospel reading, we find a number of short, pithy, memorable sayings of Jesus, including, ‘Give, and there will be gifts for you’. Jesus is suggesting that when we give to others, we will usually receive more than we give. It is as if giving to others opens up a space in our lives for God to be generous with us. Jesus is the supreme example of his own teaching, ‘give, and there will be gifts for you’. He gave everything for others out of love, even to the point of accepting death on a cross. His self-emptying gift of himself resulted in gifts being given to him by God and through him to all of humanity. God raised Jesus to new life and in that new life he became the cornerstone of a new spiritual building, the church, the community of believers. In giving all, he seemed to have lost all, and, yet, in reality, he had gained all. At times, it can seem that when we give to others, when we serve them in love, we are losing all, we are missing out in some way. Yet, in reality, we are always receiving more than we are giving. In giving ourselves to others in loving service, God is giving to us in ways we may not fully understand or appreciate at the time. In the words of the gospel reading, a ‘full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over’ is being poured into our lap. Our giving to others always involves some kind of dying to ourselves, and, yet, that dying is life-giving both for ourselves and others. As Jesus says elsewhere, the seed that falls to the ground and dies bears much fruit, or as Saint Paul says in his second letter to the Corinthians, ‘the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully’.
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