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THE WAY TO GIVE TO SHOW OUR GRATITUDE TO GOD ...

Father Francis's picture
Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Dan. 1:1-6, 8-20 & Lk. 21:1-4

The Book of Daniel is about Jewish people in a foreign land and how they kept faith. The Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, was a powerful leader and a great general. When he conquered a country, he took the most talented people back to Babylon to work in his court, leaving the poor behind to work the land.

While in Babylon the talented Jewish men would be brainwashed into the prevailing culture and made to forget their heritage and faith. Among them were Daniel and three companions who decided to remain faithful to the God of Israel and to their Jewish traditions.

When invited to eat the king's food they decided to abide by the kosher rules. It was a small thing but it meant a great deal to them. They longed for the day when they would return to their homeland. Their fidelity was the seed sown that would help to bring their people back to their homeland. They are examples of a peaceful resistance movement. If they had blended with the prevailing culture, they would have ended changing themselves.

Jesus sat before the temple treasury. As He looked on He saw the hearts of all the people who made their offerings, many of whom squeezed out just a little of their abundant security, a gesture that was neither painful nor difficult. The act of fulfilling, or thinking they were fulfilling, a duty to God caused them to glow with self-satisfaction; some were bloated with pride for having given so much, but to Jesus their act was empty of real self-giving. They were giving with routine indifference and lacked love.

The widow, we know, was different but only Jesus could have seen that she had given all she had, trusting that God would look after her. She had no other real desire but to be with Him and be enriched by Him. Her giving was serene and resigned, not despairing but rather full of hope. It was the hope of one who knows deep down how much God loves her. How much do we trust and depend on Him, particularly when other securities begin to disappear?

What does Jesus see in our daily gifts? Do we generously give God our all when we see Him on the altar? Do we generously give Him our all when we are on our knees in prayer? Do we give Him our all on our feet at work?

Jesus shows the great importance of how we give - not only of what we give. What we have is given to us so that we can use it and give it back to God for everything is His. And we should give it as an expression of our love for God. We give Him our whole life when we work diligently, practice charity, pray, or make sacrifices for love of Christ. All these acts of love are made into a gift to Jesus: we should mentally place them upon the paten along with the hosts to be consecrated at Mass when we can.

Lord Jesus, let us realize that all we have is what You have given us. May we never cease to thank You through our self-giving. Let us always give back to You, with all the love in our hearts, all that You have given us.

‘What giving again?’ I asked in dismay.
‘And must I keep giving and giving again?’
‘Oh no,’ said the angel looking me through.
‘Just give till the Master stops giving to you.’

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