THE LAW OF THE GIFT

Saturday, 21st Week in Ordinary Time           

            Today’s gospel reading is a good explanation of one of the most basic laws in the spiritual order. St. John Paul II calls it the law of the gift. It can be expressed this way: The divine life increases in us in the measure that we give it away.

            As we receive the divine life as a gift, we must also give it as a gift. And as we give it, we receive more. You receive the divine life as a gift or grace, therefore, you also give it away as a gift. And then you will find it increasing in you – thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold, as the gospel has it. That is the law of the gift.

            From Adam and Eve to the present generation, people make the opposite move: Instead of receiving, they grasp or grab the gift. ‘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.” In the measure we do that, we turn it into something other than the divine life. Which is precisely the reason we lose it. From the beginning to the end of the Bible, that story is told over and over again. And we are certainly part of that story.

            Again, today’s gospel reading illustrates a fundamental principle of our faith: Our being increases in the measure that we give it away. Giving away gives us more.

            This leads us back to the principle of stewardship. We must realize that stewardship is a source of grace because it gives us a golden opportunity to share in God’s provident and generous love. It gives us an opportunity to participate in the very life of God – which is a life of generous sharing, a life of self-giving love. Stewardship reminds us that God never stops giving and that everything we have (and everything we are) comes to us as a free gift from God – the Source of all gifts. Our generous sharing of God’s gifts is, indeed, a source of grace because it leads us to a greater participation in the life of God. It is the same principle: Giving away gives us more.

            Remember this principle: In the spiritual order, whatever is given away in the spirit of true love, always comes back to the giver – multiplied!        

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