THE LAW OF THE GIFT

2nd Day of Simbang Gabi  

            A man asked a taxi driver to take him home. Off the taxi flew, darting into busy traffic, making precarious two-wheel turns and changing lanes a dozen times a minute. “Please be careful!” the passenger pleaded, holding on for dear life. “I have ten children at home!” Answered the driver, “I, too, have ten kids. That is why I’m driving like hell!”

            Jesus had a family tree. He may have been an only child, but he had roots. Some members of his family tree had interesting backgrounds. They were not all saints. There was a prostitute, a murderer, and an adulterer. Yet, our Savior Jesus Christ claims them as family.

            It is incredible how God works through the messiness of our life. He works through your family as well. There is no perfect family; each family has its shortcomings and failings. Yet God’s grace is sufficient. It covers over us – no need to pass blame on anyone. Seek the grace of enlightenment from God. Believe that God can turn everything into a blessing.

            Sana ngayong Simbang Gabi, habang naghahanda tayo sa pagsapit ng Pasko, pahintulutan natin ang Panginoon na buksan ang ating puso at isip para matuklasan natin ang kanyang biyaya sa lahat ng bagay na dumarating at nangyayari sa buhay natin – kabilang na ‘yung tinuturing nating masakit at pangit. Everything can be a blessing if we find God in it, if we discover the sign of God’s love. Indeed, every circumstance has a gift to offer.

            The theme of our Simbang Gabi is: “Gifted to Give.” Sana ang pagnonobena nating ito ay maghatid sa atin sa malalim na pagkakabatid kung gaano at paano tayo binibiyayaan ng Panginoong Diyos upang makita rin natin ang napakaraming bagay na maaari at dapat nating binabahagi.

            One of the most basic laws in the spiritual order is the so-called “the law of the gift”which can be expressed in this way: Our being increases in the measure that we give it away. The grace we receive increases in the measure that we give it away. Ang biyayang natatanggap natin ay lumalago o nadaragdagan batay sa sukat ng pagbabahagi natin ng biyayang ito. Giving away gives us more. Iyan ay batas sa spiritual order.

            Mula pa sa mga unang magulang natin hanggang ngayon – maging ang mga miyembro ng family tree ni Hesus – nilalabag ng tao ang batas na ito – the law of the gift. People make the opposite move: Instead of receiving gift, they grasp it, they grab it. ‘Grasping’ or ‘grabbing’, according to Robert Barron, means “I’m going to seize the divine life for myself.” “I’m going to make it my possession. I’m going to hang onto it. I’m going to hoard it. I’m not going to give it away.” When we do that, we turn it into something other than the divine life – and that is precisely the reason why we lose that gift. Mula sa simula hanggang sa katapusan ng Biblia, paulit-ulit na sinasalaysay ang ganitong kuwento. And we are certainly part of that story.

            We, sinners, get caught in a bad rhythm: We try continually to fill ourselves up when, in fact, we should be emptying ourselves out in giving. Sa halip na pagbubukas-palad ang ginagawa natin, pagtitikom-kamao ang pinipili natin. Pinaniniwala kasi tayo ng mundo na ang kaligayahan natin ay nakasalalay sa ‘naitatabi’ natin para sa sarili natin.

            Let me state again the fundamental principle of our faith: Our being increases in the measure that we give it away. Ang buhay at pagkatao natin ay ‘nadaragdagan’ – lumalago at namumunga – katumbas sa pagbabahagi ng sarili natin.

            When your mind becomes a gift, it increases in knowledge. When your will becomes a gift, it increases in power. When your passion becomes a gift, it becomes more fruitful. When your emotions become gifts, they become richer. When your talents, abilities, and capacities become gifts, they increase and become more useful. On the other hand, if you cling to anything God gives you, if you keep or hold it to make it your own, to make it serve your personal needs and selfish wants… you will surely lose it… it will fade away. When we claim and keep God’s gifts for ourselves – when we hold on and cling to those gifts to make them our own, to make them serve our private, egotistic thing – they wither, they fade away!

            Remember this principle – and live by this principle: In the spiritual order, whatever is given away in the spirit of self-giving love, always comes back to the giver – multiplied! Giving away gives us more! We are, indeed, gifted to give!        

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