Generosity and Trust in God

How much are we going to give to God? A student once asked this question in their catechism class. The student wanted to be clarified about tithing and if it should really be 10% of whatever one has. Reading through the Gospel on the poor widow who contributed/gave to the Temple, the catechist ended the discourse by saying: “the best tithe is giving 100%, just like this widow in the Gospel, “she contributed/gave all she had, her whole livelihood.”

Generosity and trust in God. The life of a follower of the Lord Jesus includes these two virtues mentioned in today’s Liturgy of the Word.  The First Reading describes how during a time of drought and famine, the prophet Elijah travels to a town, a small Phoenician village. There he encounters a non-Jewish widow who gathered enough small twigs to cook the last of the supply of food for herself and her son. Elijah asks her for some water and some food.  She explained that she has barely enough to make a last meal for them.  The prophet reassures her that if she takes care of him, that she will have enough oil and flour to last through the drought and famine.  Trusting the words of the prophet of GOD, she provides for the prophet and the three of them survived a year until the rain once again waters the land, thus ending the drought and famine. The prophet Elijah trusted in God who led him to the widow and her son. The woman’s generosity was the result of her trust in the words of the prophet Elijah. Generosity and trust in God.

The Responsorial Psalm proclaims God’s care for His people, especially the needy. “The Lord keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry.” He provides what is necessary for those who call upon His name God truly is compassionate towards those who are bowed down by the burdens of life who cannot but bow down in complete trust in God. The Second Reading from the Letter to the Hebrews tells us how Jesus lives as the High Priest through His once-for-all sacrifice of giving Himself for our salvation. Jesus gave His all. This is how generous God is to all of us: He gives His whole self, He offers His whole life to us and for us.  Generosity and trust in God.

In the Gospel, Jesus was able to see how these virtues of generosity and trust in God are lived in the lives of those who contributed in the Temple. What did Jesus do? He observed how the people put money in. Jesus observed and noticed that many rich people put in large sums. But Jesus also observed and noticed a poor widow who also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Jesus observed and noticed and saw who was truly generous and trusting in God. Thus after spending time observing and noticing, Jesus concluded: “this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.” The Lord Jesus praised the poor widow because He saw the authentic generosity from her heart which shows her complete trust in God who provides for her. That made all the difference. Our Lord teaches them that in any offering or giving, the heart of the giver is more important than the gift itself. St. Pope John Paul II once said, “Nobody is so poor he has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich he has nothing to receive.”

Many of us have experienced God’s generosity in many ways even during this time of the pandemic. Our being here, our very own life, the good health that we are enjoying now, the work and studies and other endeavors that we have, the family and friends that care for and love us are but some of these graces that the Lord has lavished upon us. When God gives, it pours (siksik, liglig, at umaapaw). As we have experienced God’s generosity in our lives, let trust in Him be our response.

The widow’s act of giving, as shown in the Gospel, is grounded on faith, thus she can part with what is necessary for her survival. This act is a real kenosis (self-emptying). She is totally free to let go of everything because she feels secure in her relationship with God who will supply her needs at the right moment. Such radical generosity shows that God alone suffices.

Brothers and sisters in the Lord, as we celebrate this Eucharist today, we are reminded by the Lord Jesus on these two virtues: generosity and trust in God. As we live our Christian life this week and the coming days, let these words from the Scriptures be our prayer and invitation: Short prayers expressing our trust in God:

“My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready.” (Psalm 57:7)

“Into Your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.” (Psalm 31:5)

“Let it be done to me according to Your word (Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum).” (Luke 1:38)

“Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven (fiat voluntas tua).” (Matthew 6:9-10)

How much are we going to give to God? We give our all to Him in everything we do, in everything we have, and in our service to our brothers and sisters. Generosity and trust in God, the virtues that we are to live today and always.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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