The Gospels recommend that we be cheerful givers. In today’s Gospel we see a poor widow giving most of what she has to live on. In our world today we become aware on a regular basis of crises that occur in different areas and we, the Irish people, are particularly generous in giving to peoples who are in difficulty and much less well-off that ourselves.
Even in our parishes and communities we regularly find people asking for help. People telling us of sad situations and difficulties that they have. Putting our hand in our pockets and giving them monies can get them out of our hair and quieten our conscience, but are we helping them? Could we be abusing the person by encouraging them? Begging can be a lucrative business. Trócaire and all the Aid Agencies are always at pains to tell us that what is important is that they aid the people to help themselves and become self-sufficient. Throwing monies at a situation does not solve anything.
Christ, himself, was a very generous person. He didn’t give monies, as he did not have money, but what he gave was his whole self for all of us. The greatest thing that Christ gave us was his time and presence. He spent his time with his apostles and disciples and the people, encouraging them and affording the opportunity to believe in themselves, in the future and in humanity.
Because of this giving there were many who hated Christ and wanted him out of the way. His giving wasn’t easy, calm or smooth. Christ is recommending that we be like the widow, willing to give generously of our whole selves. We have to give of our time and talents and our presence to one another, affording others the opportunity to believe in themselves to feel loved, special and wanted.
We do this by giving of ourselves in our Parishes, Communities and our Churches. Reaching out in these circumstances is not always easy. People can feel hurt by others and used sometimes and there is the temptation to give up. However, we must be like Christ always believing in others and the future and giving of ourselves.