>> Thursday, July 10, 2008
First Reading: Hosea 11:1-4, 8-9
Psalm: Psalm 80
Gospel: Matthew 10:7-15
As you go, make this proclamation: `The kingdom of heaven is at hand.` Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive our demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give. Do not take gold or silver or copper for your belt; no sack for the journey, or a second tunic, or sandals, or walking stick. The laborer deserves his keep. Whatever the town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave. As you enter a house, wish it peace. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words - go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
"...Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give." Matthew 10:8
Generosity is a virtue. All of us are called to be generous - to give and not to count the cost as St. Ignatius` prayer for generosity tells us. And I am sure, once in our lives, we were able to perform a generous deed without expecting anything in return. It need not be a grand gesture. Helping out a friend, teaching a colleague at work, accompanying an old woman to cross the street, volunteering for a just cause - these small simple gestures of generosity and love makes a lot of difference.
As Christians, we are called to open our homes to others. As Christians, we are called to spread God`s message of love and compassion. And what better way to do this than through the acts of kindness and generosity. In the Filipino language, generosity is translated as "pagiging bukas palad". This has a very profound meaning in the sense that when we give to others, when we extend our help to them, we do it with palms open thus, bukas palad.
I am very glad that we joined the Couples for Christ here in Japan. Through this, we were able to serve our fellow countrymen in prayer and fellowship and do simple acts of generosity. And we always look forward to the household meetings because it is the time when we gather as a community in prayer and it allows us to strengthen our Christian faith. And there is also that warm Christian hospitality. Thankful for the hospitality of our brothers and sisters, we gladly open our home to host some of our prayer meetings. Through this community, we became stronger in our faith in God and hopeful that all shall be well. And it is such a joy when you see the happy faces of your brothers and sisters, singing songs of praise and worship, praying for one another and giving reverence to the Father. And at the end of the day, we realize that even though we do not expect anything in return for our generosity, we receive something - and that is the happiness and peace that comes into our homes.
Lord, please teach us to be generous. May our little acts of kindness today make a big difference in the lives of those we encounter. We pray, Oh Lord, that they return the act of generosity, not to us, but to others, so that those who seek You may realize that You are just near, here with us, through the generosity of our brothers and sisters. We also pray, O God, that we may be able to pay it forward - these small, simple acts of kindness and generosity. Amen.