The art of giving
Nov 6, 2017
31st Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Luke 14:12-14
On a Sabbath, Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He addressed the man who had invited him and said, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, or your brothers and relatives and wealthy neighbors. For surely they will also invite you in return and you will be repaid. When you give a feast, invite instead the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. Fortunate are you then, because they can’t repay you; you will be repaid at the Resurrection of the upright.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Two friends were talking about fear. One asked if the other was not afraid of the end of the world. The other replied: “In these times of financial hardships, I am more afraid of the end of the month”. Financial concerns are the major sources of our fears. These wield so much power over our actions. It can even taint our acts of charity with hidden agenda. It cannot be denied that many render favors to others on the basis of their capacity to reciprocate. In business we call this return of investment (ROI). While this is legitimate in business, it is anomalous when it comes to our compliance with the divine mandate to be charitable.
Some people donate to charitable foundations because the donation is tax deductible. If such is the primary consideration, then these people are unhealthy givers. They are not really giving. They are investing. Others sponsor the studies of seminary students to have a priest someday at their beck and call. This type of giving is worse than the former because the motive is not just return on financial investment but the desire to wield power over the recipient. If it is immoral to manipulate people, what more could be said of manipulating priests?
On the practical side, giving without expecting something in return assures more than just the ROI. Compare your wedding guest list and the guest list at the funeral of a family member. You’ll be surprised that most of those who really prayed at the wake of your loved ones are not in your wedding guest list. Those we size up as unable to reciprocate materially give more in terms of prayers and empathy. These things money cannot buy and are definitely greater than ROI.
There is more to giving without expecting in return than practical considerations. To be afraid of the end of the month because it brings in our creditors is realistic. But God is the God of surprises. When we give as we should give, God’s providence will never pass us by. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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