The Gospel for today’s liturgy holds a special place in my heart as it was the Gospel reading for the Sunday when I celebrated my Mass of Thanksgiving after my ordination. One phrase from that text always catches my attention and usually leads me into some serious prayer time: “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Matthew 10:8b) The translation has changed the verse slightly from how it was proclaimed forty years ago when we read: “The gift you have received, give as a gift.” These were the words that were printed on the cover of the worship aid for that solemn Mass.
What have we received? Asking this question in the context of St. Matthew’s Gospel brings us to one of the primary themes expressed throughout this Gospel; namely, we have all received the gift of reconciliation. We have been reconciled to God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. So one way to look at this verse is to find our motivation to be people of reconciliation, people of forgiveness.
However, it is also possible to pray with this verse on a very personal level. Today would be a good day to stop whatever we are doing for a minute or so and consider all that we have been given. Each of us has received the gift of faith, the gift of a vocation, and the gift of life. As CUSANS, we also count among our gifts the particular cross that God has given us. Yes, even our chronic illness or disability can be numbered among our gifts for it is that which makes it possible for us to unite ourselves with the crucified Savior, Jesus.
Naturally, when considering our gifts, our hearts and minds also turn to thoughts of gratitude. Yet the Gospel reminds us that true gratitude can be expressed if we turn around and offer the gift to someone else. One might even call this “spiritual” paying it forward. Jesus tells us that we are to give the gift that we have received.
Again, in the context of St. Matthew’s Gospel, this points out to us that we are to be people who forgive. However, in our own personal story, we are also charged with the task of sharing the gift of our faith, the gift of our vocation and the gift of life.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator