Call to generosity PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 11:46

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

“For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” (Lk 6,38)

For those with Christian faith, these words, which are considered divine and redemptive or perfective of our human nature, describe to us how we ought to behave with one another and ultimately with God.

A similar passage is given in the gospel of St. Mark. “In what measure you shall mete, it shall be measured to you again, and more shall be given to you.” (4,24) In another part of the gospel, our Lord promised to give a hundredfold.

Even pure human wisdom, uninfluenced by Christian faith, cannot help but echo the same idea as can be gleaned in the famous Golden Rule or the Ethic of Reciprocity: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.”

We have to overflow with love, with goodness, with compassion and understanding, if we too want to receive a constructive tsunami of love, goodness, compassion and understanding from God and from others. The gospel, in fact, is very graphic about this. It says:

“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you.” (Lk 6,36-37)

Then it ends with a wallop by saying: “A good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” In other words, we have to outdo ourselves in love and goodness. For this is what loving is all about. It goes all the way, without measure nor calculation. It has to go to the brim and flow over.

Same ideas are mentioned in many parts of the gospel. In the Lord’s prayer, for example, we are told to say: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us.”

The reason for this divine indication is, first of all, because we are made out of love and for love. And love is manifested in mercy, patience and all the signs of goodness.

In short, we affirm our dignity as image and likeness of  God, as persons and as children of God, when we overflow with goodness, just as God is pure goodness and love himself.

That is the reason why we have to go to God to know how to love. We did not invent love or create goodness. God has loved us first before we learn to love. And this divine love is given to us and perfected in us when God sent his Son and later the Holy Spirit.

The Son, Jesus Christ, showed us the scope and range of the love proper to us. That’s why he summarized all the commandments by giving us a new commandment, which is “to love one another as I have loved you.”

And how did Christ love us? All the way, by giving his life to us. Remember his saying: “Greater love than this no man has, that a man lays down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15,13)

God will always love us. Other men may fail to return our love with love. But even in that situation, God in Christ and in the Holy Spirit shows us how to keep on loving. St. John of the Cross expresses it very well when he said: “Where there is no love, put love and you will harvest love.”

That love of Christ by offering his life on the cross captures all the sinfulness of man and pays for it all, and then gives us the way to rise with a new life from our state of alienation from God our Father.

This is something we have to understand very well, because our current environment, where faith is ignored and reason and the senses are all we have to rely on, simply laughs and mocks at this truth about us and our life here on earth.

As Pope Benedict said recently, many people are losing faith in God and therefore are also losing their sense of sin. They simply rely on a psychological or social understanding of right and wrong. It seems the sense of good and evil now is not anymore referred to God.

This same love is offered to us by the Holy Spirit, who makes Christ alive in us, enabling us not only to remember God’s words but also to replicate Christ’s very own life in us.

Let´s be generous!