17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“What father among you would hand his son…a snake when he asks for a fish?“
I love receiving gifts. It is a wonderful feeling when friends present us with thoughtful presents and experiences. While cash may well be the most versatile of things to receive, it can seem like a hollow option that was chosen without much consideration.
Today’s reading speaks about how our Father in heaven and the Holy Spirit give us what we desire (in their own way), and much more. Many of the gifts are unmerited and unsolicited. They show us how thoughtful and benevolent God is. They give us gifts of virtues, spiritual growth, opportunities and encounters with people who enrich our lives. And they are gifts that are given without expectations of reciprocity. They are gifts borne out of love.
With half of 2022 behind us, perhaps some of you more organised readers have started to plan your Christmas shopping. But Christmas is not the only time of the year that we should be giving gifts. Our friends and families all have their own crosses to bear and they could always use a cheer-up or a helping hand. I invite you to consider how you can give them something that could brighten their paths.
It begins by knowing people’s love languages. It would be ideal if everyone’s languages aligned with our own. However, that is hardly the case. I tend to buy people meals or give them food. I have a friend who only ever buys books for his friends and they always come with a lovely handwritten note.
We must also be wary of the tendency to have the gifts mean more to us than to the receiver. Are we trying to under-handedly show-off? Are there hidden contexts to the gifts we give? Let’s try to have more of ‘them’ and less of ‘us’ shine in our gifting gestures. I hope that in time, we will all recognise that it can be just as good to give as it is to receive.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Gregory Mathew)
Prayer: Help us O Lord, to be generous with the time and resources that we bestow upon others.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for the abundance of blessings in our lives. May we always know that we shall not want.