The juxtaposition of the two readings in today’s Lectionary is one of those coincidences that happens from time to time. Both readings are about generosity – generosity in prayer, in giving alms, and in fasting.
On Monday, we heard a reading that is proclaimed on Ash Wednesday. Today’s Gospel is also proclaimed on that day. I hope you also recognize the first reading as the one that is proclaimed on the Feast of St. Lawrence!
St. Matthew’s Gospel frequently reminds us of the great gift we have received from God – the gift of mercy. This Gospel is filled with parables and with discourses that remind us of how much we have been given. In verse eight of chapter ten, St. Matthew writes: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
We know that the Gospels were written after all of the letters of St. Paul. St. Matthew’s take on generosity of spirit echoes St. Paul as he urges us to be cheerful in giving to others. “The Lord loves a cheerful giver.”
It is also St. Paul who tells us that all of the gifts that we have received are meant to be used for the good of the community. Just as Jesus lived his life for others, we are meant to do the same.
Once again we gather to receive the Eucharist, the most precious of the gifts of God. The best way to show our gratitude for this gift is to share it with others throughout our day.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator