Friday, April 30, 2010


Different themes can be gleaned from the teachings of Jesus that give more than a hint of the ways, the personality of God. One such theme is generosity. If a stranger asks for your shirt, give him or her your coat as well. Forgive not seven times, but seventy times seven. Go that extra mile in the giving of more than is expected. Love your neighbor as yourself, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. Give from your want, not from your abundance. Give all you have to the poor, and follow. Welcome the stranger, embrace the despised, pray always. A net is cast into the sea and soon is filled with fish, to the point of almost breaking. A near empty basket provides food for thousands. A wedding feast has no wine, but soon has it in overflowing measure.
The God of Jesus knows no bounds when it comes to the giving of gifts. The life of Jesus is ours as gift. Our ability to share that life with others is as well a gift.
We are easily awed by what is around us, if we take note of it. Tiny creatures give birth to hundreds of offspring. Stars beyond measure fill the night sky. There are more galaxies than there are grains of sand on the earth. The created world is orchestrated, overflowing with countless examples of abundance, of seemingly more than is ever needed. From diversity there flows life. From variation there emerge patterns of living beauty. From less there is always more.
Jesus looked about and compared the largesse of nature to the generosity of God. And he also took note of the human heart. His words served as a reminder to those who heard them to learn from abundance. It is not an easy lesson to learn, to take to heart, because we do not know what to do with abundance other than take what we can from it. Our generosity is often cheapened by our need to enjoy the feast and then calculate the server’s tip to the nearest possible penny. We seem to dabble well with the fractional and are awed by the incremental, the limitless.
God said of himself that his ways are not our ways. But that apparent unlikeness did not prevent him from sharing it.
It is Divine Mercy Sunday.
We are asked to imitate Jesus.
We are asked to be a sure road for those who are lost.
A source of hope for those who feel they have lost it for good.
A home for those who may have never had one.
A source of comfort for those who have only known rejection.
A way home for those who are stranded and who feel that the last train to life has long left the station.
A wellspring of forgiveness for those who have been denied a last court of appeal.
Today we take to heart a promise that mercy is special in its uniqueness. It is reserved in ample measure precisely for those who cannot ever hope to earn it or deserve it. Of all that God deals to us, mercy is the trump card that clearly shows his hand.

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