13TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME A
THE REWARD OF GENEROSITY
A group of nuns went to a remote provincial area planning to start a monastery.
But all they had was a vast donated land without any structures on it – only tall grass, parched soil and rocks.
When a family in the town heard of this, they invited the nuns to stay in their house. They installed dividers to separate the nuns’ quarters from the family space.
The good owners shared their water, electricity and other services to the nuns. Even their young son served as errand boy for the nuns’ needs outside their improvised convent.
After some years, the nuns left that house and moved into a new monastery.
Years later, the son of the owners entered the seminary, was ordained priest after some years and even went to Rome for further studies.
The generous heart and trusting faith of his parents was rewarded with the gift of a vocation!
Today’s first reading (2 Kings 4) narrates the generosity of a couple of Shunem to the prophet Elijah, taking care of his needs and providing for him a special place in their home when he comes to visit.
Learning that the couple was childless, the prophet promised the woman that the following year, she will have a son. It was the reward for their unselfish sharing and giving to the prophet.
How refreshing to be reminded that generosity attracts many blessings from God. In the Gospel today, the Lord Jesus promised that even a cup of water lovingly shared elicits a reward.
Why does God love people who are always ready and willing to share their material resources with others or to help other people in distress?
It is because the Lord our God is himself the source of generosity, the source of all self-giving and sharing. “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9: 7b) because he sees a reflection of his heart in the heart of a person who is willing to share.
Sometimes in difficult moments, we become hesitant to give or share, afraid that we might lack what we also need. Isn’t that paradoxical? You ask the Lord to help you survive a crisis, but you do not want to imitate the Lord in his goodness. We expect God to be good to us, but we control the good we do to others.
If that happens, there is clearly a problem with trust. Do we really trust the word of the Lord?
In my encounters with people, I have seen how the Lord brought more blessings to those who are more generous; not only material or financial blessings but peace of mind, joy in the heart, good health and protection from harm.
I have witnessed people too, who refuse to give, and live their whole lives afraid that they will not have enough for their needs, or live their lives unsatisfied and unhappy in spite of what they have.
The recent pandemic crisis brought a great challenge. Surprisingly so many people showed a Christian attitude by giving joyfully so that others may survive and be safe. How great it would be if that attitude becomes a daily habit with us.
At home, whenever we are confronted with the situation of whether to help someone or not, because we are not well-off materially, my mother reminded us of the words of our parish priest: “No one who gave to others died of hunger because God always takes care of givers.”
Pray that you may be generous and unafraid to give… as the Lord was courageous in giving you his love through his Son and the Holy Spirit.
(Please be generous to share this message to others…)