Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
(I Kings 21:1-16; Matthew 5:38-42)
Two women come to the rectory door asking five dollars for gas. The older one explains that she needs to take the other, her daughter, to the hospital but has no gas. What should the priest do? It is a small sum, but perhaps enough for a snort of cocaine. The priest sends the women to the parish office where the secretary will call a courtesy service that provides rides for people with emergency needs. Yet he wonders if he is resisting Jesus’ directive in the gospel today.
Jesus tells his disciples to “’give to the one who asks of you…’” He certainly is making a radical demand. Anyone who gives to all who make requests will soon find his/her resources exhausted. Yet this is the new way of living that Jesus presents. Followers will heed his words as best they can and give away their materials assets for the blessings of God’s kingdom.
Following Jesus means denying ourselves in ways that some will consider self-destructive. But reaching the fullness of Christian generosity should be seen as a gradual process that avoids harm to self. Hopefully as we grow older we will more freely make sacrifices for the good of others. This last item is relevant. We cannot be mindless in our generosity but always seek the true good of our beneficiaries.