Homily for Sept. 13th, 2018: Luke 6:27-38.
“Give and gifts will be given to you,” Jesus tells us in today’s gospel, “a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
Is that how we normally think of giving? Don’t we assume that when we have given something away, then it’s gone – and we are poorer? In reality, our gifts do not us make poorer. They enrich us.
Let me tell you about someone afraid to give. She is the mother of two grown children, a son and a daughter. The son is seeking priesthood, as a member of a religious order. His mother wants grandchildren with her husband’s family name. If her son perseveres to ordination, she won’t have them. She thinks that will make her poorer. Every time he goes home, she cries in front of him, and begs him to leave. Friends, there is only one word for that: it's emotional blackmail.
I don’t know that mother. And I don’t want to do her any injustice. But I’ve wondered. When Judgment Day comes and the books are opened, will the Lord say to her: ‘Mary, I wanted to give you another son, and even two. Together they would have given you all the grandchildren you could wish for. And you would have been just as proud of them as you are of that son of yours who even now is offering Mass for the repose of your soul. But you said No.’
Contrast that nameless mother with other mothers, and fathers as well, who affirm and support a son’s decision for priesthood. On his ordination day they shed tears of joy and pride at what their son is doing. He’ll never give them grandchildren, true. But he will have countless spiritual children – far more than he could ever have through marriage.
Who do you suppose is happier? the mother who cries in front of her son and begs him turn aside from God’s call? or the parents who joyfully support that call, knowing that the measure with which they measure will be measured back to them?
Think about it.