Summary: Our gift to God must be totally disinterested, and focused on evangelization.

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Thursday of the 3rd Week in Course 2014

Joy of the Gospel

We receive in the same measure with which we give. That is the way in which our light shines before humankind. That is the way we attract others to the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of hope, the Gospel of Life. Jesus Christ, in the plan of the Father, gave everything He had. His “return on investment,” if I may be so bold as to use a secular term, is immense. The Father has given Him the whole universe as a reward.

When we consider the measure with which we give, we tend to think only of quality. “How big is the scoop?” But that is an incomplete metric. What we need to focus on is not the volume of the giving, but the quality of the gift, and the attitude with which we give it. I’ll start with an analogy to our gift, our tithe, to the Church.

Let’s suppose someone gives a million dollars to the Church. That amount is terrific, because the need and the opportunity is great. But consider the quality issue. Suppose the gift is designated and restricted to build a football stadium for the church school? That’s not a bad thing. It enhances the attractiveness of the school, and perhaps if it’s well constructed, it provides for a safer and more enjoyable game of football or soccer. But the gift could have a whole series of unintended and less profitable consequences. It might drive up the cost of maintenance. It almost certainly would give the church an appearance of financial well-being that could drive down weekly giving. And the attitude behind such a gift could be self-serving. The donor might be more interested in putting his name on the stadium than on enhancing service to the Church and the poor. Our giving, to be most beneficial to our eternal welfare, ought to be entirely disinterested.

What I have said for gift of treasure is also true of gifts of time and talent. We must focus on our mission of sharing the love of the Father and the gift of Christ with those in need. God wants all humans to be saved, to be washed clean in the blood of the Lamb, and to draw near to Him in confidence and assurance of faith. This is the hope we have to share, the only hope that will fill the void in our lives and our hearts that all men feel.

The Holy Father warns us that consumerism, which by its nature is self-centered and ignores the needs of the poor, damages us not just on a personal level but on a societal level. ‘unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. It serves only to offer false hopes to those clamoring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.’

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