By Fr. Roy Cimagala
THIS, I believe, is what Christ is telling us when he said, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand?…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.” (cfr. Mk 4,21-25)
Of course, with due consideration to the necessity of prudence, discretion and naturalness in our earthly affairs, we should realize that we have to give our all in serving God and everybody else. That is the law that should govern our whole life. It can only mean that we are truly motivated by love which in the end is the very essence and purpose of our humanity, if we are to become God’s image and likeness as we are meant to be.
Let’s remember Christ’s words that encourage us to be generous, “Without cost you have received. Without cost you are to give.” (Mt 10,8) If we put these words into deeds, we would be reflecting the very love and life of God who has given us everything, including the Son to become man as an expiation for all our sins. We should not be afraid to give our all to God and to others, regardless of the sacrifices that would be involved.
Thus, in Christ’s commissioning of his disciples that should include all of us, his believers and followers, he encourages us not to worry so much about what to have or what to bring. “Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belts; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep.”
We need to develop a keen sense of generosity and self-giving that is also a result of detachment. Let’s never forget that whatever we have comes from God who wants us to work for the common good. Thus, we hear St. Paul saying, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Cor 4,7) Whatever we have should be shared with others—of course, in a certain way proper to God’s moral law for us.
We have been reminded of this need to cultivate generosity in the gospel. “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions,” Christ said. (Lk 12,15)
We are told not to lay up treasures for oneself but rather to be rich toward God, that is, to be generous with God and with everybody else. Avarice, hoarding, simply pursuing our self-interest and personal welfare are actually inhuman, let alone, unchristian.
It’s also good for us to remember that there is such a thing as “universal destination of earthly goods.” That’s an official part of our Christian doctrine. “In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race.” (CCC 2402)
If we are truly generous and prudent persons, we would always be mindful and thoughtful of the others. We would try our best to know what others need, and not just wait for these needs to come to our attention. We would always be thinking, planning and strategizing so that the requirements of social justice, solidarity and charity are met.