A businessman who needed millions of dollars to clinch an important deal went to the church to pray for the money. By chance, he sat next to a man who was praying for $100 to pay an urgent debt. The businessman took out his wallet and pressed $100 into the other man's hand. Overjoyed, the man got up and left the church. The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed: "And now, Lord, that I have your undivided attention . . ."

It may sound selfish for the businessman to pray that way, but this story illustrates two things: God answered the man’s prayer about his debt and he used a businessman for it.

This is similar to the story about the two boys who had a sleepover at their Grandma’s house. The older one prayed about everything he had done that day. And when it was the younger one’s turn, he prayed much louder than his elder brother did, he prayed for bikes and toys. When he finished the older brother asked him, "Why are you praying so loud? God is not deaf!" The younger son said, “I know but Grandma is."

In today’s Gospel, Jesus was watching the collections, which proves that He is a Catholic by the way, when He noticed a widow who gave two and he made her the example of total giving. The disciples were still hesitant to give them their all. They even dissuaded him from embracing his death on Calvary. And even with the story of this widow, they even abandoned Jesus in his hour of need that Good Friday.

But, they knew that they counted. As Jesus relied on the example of the widow, so did He trust in the faith and commitment of his disciples after His resurrection. We all know the rest of the story because down through the history of the Church and the world, we have known of men and women who had given their all. They lived and died for Jesus.

Giving everything, giving our all reminds me of the romantic notion of love. Love means promising the moon and the stars. It conveys promising the future. Things change when reality sets in. The stars and the moon remain out of reach. The future may look grim as the present.

This is when true and mature love is found and commitment is tested. Love is essentially letting go and letting be and that is how the widow felt. She gave everything for God because God gave her everything. Whenever we give something for God or for the Church, not only do we appreciate our blessings and thus we share, but we also tell him that he will provide and that we have full trust in his goodness and providence.

There is no measurement in God’s blessings. His Son is His greatest gift. Whatever we can offer may look insignificant, but Jesus notices anything that we give. When we ask ourselves, “How much we give?” we must also ask, “How much should I keep?” It is all right to keep some money for our needs. However, we cannot give God our leftovers.

Every Sunday is a challenge for us to give not just for the church, the parish and the school. Every Sunday is also an invitation to give a little bit more of our time for God, a little bit more of our involvement with the parish. A little bit of our time for God does not take much. Stay a little bit after Mass. Do not rush and leave after Communion. Judas did and he ended in despair. Or perhaps, an hour every week before the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus wants us to watch with him even for just an hour. He wants us to speak to Him and listen to Him because He knows us.

A little bit of your involvement also does not take much. There are so many persons here who do not want to be known, but I know the ordinary, but valuable things they do in caring for the sick, the hungry, the lost, the impatient, the elderly and the forgotten. Get involved in the different ministries we have. Do something productive.

It does not matter whether what we give is large or small. What matters is the gift of our selves. It is when we open ourselves to God that we mirror His providence. It is when we share ourselves to God that we truly become his children. It is when we give ourselves to God that we reflect His presence.

8 November 2009

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