Greetings on this the Wednesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Readings: 2 Cor 9:6-11; PS 112:1bc-2, 3-4, 9; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18
You are being enriched in every way for all generosity,
which through us produces thanksgiving to God.
When you consider the meaning of this sacred word it is quite humbling.
For followers of Christ, we are being changed to be generous in all ways. Imagine or can we even imagine the breadth and depth of this type of generosity?
Such generosity through and in us produces thanksgiving to God.
Not sparingly does one give who follows the Lord.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
his generosity shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory (PS 112:9)
Lavishly – in an extravagant manner; in profusion.
Blessed the man who fears the Lord.
Whoever loves me will keep my word,
and my Father will love him
and we will come to him.
Being perfect is reflected in a new way in the gospel of Matthew chapter 6 by way of comparison.
Today’s gospel portion is often associated with the season of Lent. In Lent we reintroduce the practices of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. The reading contrasts true practice with the hypocritical actions of the Pharisees.
While outwardly they appear to be the same action, inwardly they are not.
Jesus uses physical contrast to make his point – so one can see what he is referring to, such as:
- standing on the street corner (flamboyance).
- blowing one’s horn (bragging).
- looking gloomy (starving).
- failing to wash one’s face (lack of self care).
It is the difference between inner driven to profusion and a check list mentality.
- is from a fount of love (love as God loves).
- reliance upon God (all is from Him).
- fidelity to God (all as he did).
- is being enriched by God to be generous (transformative for self and others).
Check List Mentality
- ritualistic, bound to periodicity (not to actual needs).
- compliance to law, external requirement.
- obligation needing confirmation (Greek verb apechō, a commercial term for giving a receipt).
- self sufficiency, from one’s excess not from one’s poverty.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You pay tithes of mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier things of the law: judgment and mercy and fidelity. [But] these you should have done, without neglecting the others (Matt 23:23).
I think everyone bounces between being lavish or having a check list mentality.
The issue is to be self-aware and when you can allow the Lord to help you become generous. It is a key sign of conversion and for our highest joy to praise God and have God praised because of us.
Peace be with you,