AS a Christian, it is very important we ask ourselves “Am I a giver?” because we can always be a person who ends up receiving.
Along with the listeners of Fr Michael Payyapilly’s homily on the Markan Gospel about the poor widow with her two copper coins, I must admit that there is something here that drives me to delve deeper into my Catholic values.
The Melbourne parish priest hit the nail on the head when he pronounced that one of the big things that Catholics harp about or complain about is about giving our tithes to the Church, or just to give. Though, he admitted that it is more a Pentecostal or Protestant thing to do to give tithes. Catholics do not speak about tithes. It is a big “NO”.
However, Fr Payyapilly insisted that there is an attitude that is connected to it – the attitude of giving that runs not only from the financial side of it. “If you are a giver, you will be a giver in everything that you are connected to,” attested the preacher.
He believed that it stems from a general attitude of giving. How much do I give, not only about my money, but about my time, my talents, my gifts, my efforts, etc? How much do I even given for the glory of God? It is easy to donate some money and tell someone else to go and do something because I am not able to offer my time, my talents, etc. It is basically because I am not a giver.
But we are all called to be a giver, underlined the preacher. 2 Cor 9:7 said “Let each one give what he decided upon personally, and not reluctantly as if obliged. God loves a cheerful giver.” God loves a cheerful giver, which can be not only in giving money, but also in giving love, time, efforts, etc. A person who is a giver in any aspect of life, he emphasized, will turn into a giver who is cheerful.
He explained, a person who is a giver will show in every aspect of his life. When the two copper coins went into the treasury, everything in that treasury became filled with grace. This was not because the two copper coins were anything big monetarily, but the giving of them was filled with grace.
Very often, when we come to Church, we ask ourselves how much do I receive? Out of the homily, what did I get? Out of the Eucharist, what did I get? Out of my interactions, what did I get? In the pandemic, when I come to the Eucharist, do I get the correct space? Do I get a good space?
Fr Payyapilly warned, are we people who are always measuring life based on what we got, rather than what we give? By the time we leave this world, will we have taken more from the world than what we have given it? He reminded that we have all come into the world with something to offer it. God has blessed us with gifts, with anointing, that we might give. What have I given?
With thoughts on the last day of our life, it seems right for us to ponder on whether we have taken more than we have given. He urged us to ask God for the grace of a cheerful giver, which calls for sacrifice.
Recalling Mother Teresa’s famous saying “Give till it hurts”, we should feel the pain, suggested Fr Payyapilly. “That’s what the widow felt – the pain of giving the two copper coins – all that she had. Let’s feel the pain when we give, so that on the last day we should be able to say that we have given far more than we have received.”