As we will notice in the readings for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, one common theme also emerges and that is God’s generosity to us. In the first reading from Isaiah, verse 7 says, “Let them turn to the L to find mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving.” The Lord is generous in mercy and forgiveness. In Psalm 145 verses 8 and 9, the psalmist extolls God’s generosity in His patience, kindness, and compassion: “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in mercy. The LORD is good to all, compassionate toward all your works.” In the second reading, St. Paul acknowledges Christ’s generosity towards him when the Lord transformed him despite his prior life of persecuting Christians. It is in response to God’s generosity that St. Paul himself was as generous in living and giving his life for the sake of the Gospel (ref. Phil 1:20-24).
So if God is so generous to us, shouldn’t we be just as generous to one another? You are probably thinking to yourself, “But I am already generous! I regularly donate money to different causes - - to my parish, to my community, to several charities. I give my time to visit the sick and to serve in the soup kitchen. I play the piano and sing for the elderly residents at a nursing home.” If you are already doing these, well and good! But listen to what the Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said: “Never measure your generosity by what you give, but rather by what you have left.”
Do you still have a lot of money left over after you have given to all the worthy causes? Do you still have a lot of time to spare after you’ve visited all the different places where you serve? Do you still have talents that you have not developed so that you can share those gifts with others? “Never measure your generosity by what you give, but rather by what you have left.”
So now, you and I realize that we are not so generous after all. On the contrary, we are probably like the envious workers in the parable who grumbled against the landowner’s generosity to those who worked less hours than they did. Don’t we complain when we see others more fortunate than us? Don’t we object when we are the ones who are always asked to do something? Don’t we protest when someone less senior and less qualified than us gets the promotion we were hoping for?
Let us be generous to each other in the same way that the Lord is generous to us. Even more than that, let us be generous not only with our time, talent, and treasure but also with our words of encouragement, our acts of kindness, our prayers and petitions on behalf of others. The Lord knows it is not easy but we must strive to follow His example and His will for us. Let us pray the prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola:
O my God, teach me to be generous: to serve you as you deserve to be served; to give without counting the cost; to fight without fear of being wounded; to work without seeking rest; and to spend myself without expecting any reward, but the knowledge that I am doing your holy will. Amen.