GENEROUS OR MISER?

Thursday, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time            

            “A lamp… placed on a lampstand.”

            We are not to hide and we are not to be ashamed to manifest the goodness of God in our lives. This is the point of today’s gospel parable. As the metaphor explains, when we light a lamp, we place it where it can dispel the darkness. We do not hide the lamp under a bushel basket or under a bed. This is an invitation to give witness to God’s goodness so that others may be inspired, encouraged, or edified by it.

            As a corollary to the first point, today’s gospel reading reminds us that we shall receive from God only in the measure of our generosity. If we give a little, we shall receive only a little. But if we give much, we shall also receive much. The point is that we should be willing to share, rather than keep to ourselves, whatever gift we have received from God. (365 Day with the Lord – 2015)

            Today’s gospel is candidly posing this question on each of us: “Are you a generous person or a miser?”

            Psychologists say that a miser is a miserable person because he or she has low self-esteem and a weak sense of security. Consequently, a miser piles up wealth to boost his or her ego and he or she surrounds himself or herself with material things to escape from loneliness. Isn’t there something of the ‘miser’ in all of us? When we try to compensate for what is lacking within us by accumulating things around us, we act like a miser. When we seek our security in finances alone, instead of trusting in God’s loving care for us, we act like a miser.

            The question we must ask is: What measure of material wealth is compatible with fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus? The answer is: Wealth that is shared, not hoarded. The Lord Jesus and the Apostle James never recommended the elimination or destruction of wealth, but rather its distribution among the poor.

            In other words, wealth is a wonderful thing, but it is not to be worshipped. Wealth is an immense blessing from God, but must benefit others. Someone said, “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”             

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