June 1, 2022 – Seventh Week of Easter
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/060122.cfm)
How blessed really are those who give than those who merely receive? Most of us actually think that we are more blessed when we receive something. It is wonderful to be a recipient of some goods from others because we don’t have to exert effort but only to open our hands. How nice would that be!
Yet, there are interesting different attitudes between a constant receiver and a generous giver. People who are constantly receiving gifts, or those who demand to receive may they be material or not would tend to have low self-esteem, or insecure and unsatisfied with what they have already in this life. Thus, if this becomes our attitude, we too grow to become self-entitled and demanding towards others for our own benefit and advantage. Because of these attitudes, when we become people who constantly seek the generosity of others, we also tend to keep things for ourselves alone but ungenerous to others.
These affect how we see ourselves, believing that we don’t have enough compared to others. We also become negative in our dealings and relationships with other people because we are inclined to see what is only ugly and unpleasant for us. And so, when people like these, initiate to give something to others, their gifts or good deeds have always hidden motives. This means that we only give because we expect something bigger in return. This attitude rather seeks what is only good and comfortable for ourselves because at the very first place, we are motivated by a selfish desire.
On the other hand, persons who are truly generous of their gifts, of their presence and of their person, are confident. Yet, it does not mean that their confidence comes from the many things that they have acquired in this life. This confidence rather comes from faith because that person truly believes in God’s generosity and providence. That is why, a true generous person is always grateful. Yes, generosity springs forth from a heart that is grateful to God and the act of giving is a response of a grateful heart.
This is what St. Paul told us in the Acts of the Apostles – “It is better to give than to receive.” Paul was called by Jesus and was given freedom. It led Paul to faith and his faith made him grateful and thus, a generous person expressed in giving himself for the proclamation of the Good News. He was not after silver or gold, to enrich himself but to give generously his presence for the people to whom he was sent as a minister. Indeed, this is an expression that giving is a blessing.
Such act of giving that grants blessing reminds us too of St. Justin, a martyr and philosopher. It was by giving witness to faith that he too gave himself even if it would cost him his life. He never wavered even when there was a threat to his life. That act of St. Justin was founded on his confidence and faith in the Risen Jesus.
This has been expressed by Jesus in the Gospel. Jesus showed his gratitude to the Father because of the love that sustained him in his ministry. Jesus’ prayer for his followers was his generous act, asking the Father to protect and bless them. This generous action of Jesus culminated in giving up his life on the cross for our sake while the resurrection is the Father’s generous action for our sake because the Father is grateful for the Son.
This is God’s invitation for us today.
We are, first, called to be truly grateful with what we have, to be confident with what we are enjoying which includes material things, people and relationships, talents, skills and our very “person” too.
Second, let us allow our heart to grow in gratitude and confidence in God’s generosity that will hopefully mold us to become “blessed givers.” Remember, what we can give is not limited to material things, but even our talents, capacities, knowledge and our presence to people who are truly in need.
Indeed, blessed are the generous givers because they portray God’s character and make God’s presence ever more present. Kabay pa.