THURSDAY HOMILY: What Do You Have? Living Lives of Gratitude and Generosity
What Do You Have? We have everything because we have Jesus Christ. We are called to live lives of gratitude and generosity.
Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away (Jesus)
CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - In our Gospel today Jesus calls his disciples to live differently. He knows what lies ahead for Him - and for all who follow after Him. He calls them to shine their lights in a world of darkness - and to live in integrity. He also invites them to cultivate an attitude of generosity and gratitude.
He invites us to do the same.
"Jesus said to his disciples, "Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear." He also told them, "Take care what you hear. The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you. To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Mk. 4:21-25)
The last line unfolds its deeper meaning as I age. I understand what seemed enigmatic when I was a young man. "To the one who has - more will be given; from the one who has not - even what he has will be taken away." It is a matter of the heart, in the Biblical sense of the word. Do we live our lives focused on our lack - or do we understand the gift we have received in Jesus Christ?
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Brothers and sisters: As God is faithful, our word to you is not "yes" and "no." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was proclaimed to you by us, Silvanus and Timothy and me, was not "yes" and "no, " but "yes" has been in him. For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory." (2 Corinthians 1:18-22)
Jesus is the Yes of God. In Him we have everything we need - and so much more to give away.
Over the years I have tried to help explain the kernel of the liberating truth found in this line to people. One phrase I use is living in the economy of heavenly scale.One Gospel account which helps to introduce us to this economy of heavenly scale is the feeding of the five thousand.
It is recorded in all four Gospel accounts, underscoring its importance. (See, Mk 6:30-44, Mt. 13:14-21, Luke 9: 10-17, Jn 6:5-13). However, let me use Marks account (Mk. 6:30-44) and reflect on the lessons it offers us in learning to live lives of gratitude and generosity..
Be Freed from Self Love
"The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught." (Mk. 6:30)
The focus of the disciples in this profoundly important encounter was on themselves and accomplishments in their ministry. This kind of focus on self is the antithesis of an authentic spiritual life. Though some contemporary versions of religion attempt to figuratively baptize it, it is not the path to self fulfillment but to the loss of one's soul. Jesus said, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own self in the process?"
These men had traveled with Jesus. They knew who He was. Yet, they clearly had not yet come to grasp the implications of their relationship with Him. They had seen, perhaps with their eyes, but not yet with their hearts.
Learn to See Others
"Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place, and get some rest." (Mk. 6:31)
Jesus focused on the disciples and identified with their need. He invited them to come with him into a new way of viewing themselves, their lives and their mission. This takes new vision, the eyes of living faith, turned off of ourselves and seeing others now in His light.
Compassion: Learn to Suffer With
"So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things." (Mk. 6:32- 34)
Jesus is moved with compassion (to "suffer with", in the Greek), his attitude is always redemptive. His first act of love is to TEACH them. The disciples did not understand who they were or who Jesus was. This lack is their greatest poverty.
Never Send Them Away
"By this time it was late in the day, so his disciples came to him. "This is a remote place," they said, "and it's already very late. Send the people away so they can go to the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat." (Mk. 6:35, 36)
Again the disciples focus is on themselves and not the ones for whom Jesus had gathered them ...
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