Gifts are best when shared with love

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By Fr. Flor Lagura, SVD

In the service of the Word

Saturday, August 2, 2014


The city’s ten thousand or more poor outcasts had to be fed, and the good nun having received a huge donation from a wealthy couple who decided to forego a big wedding banquet went with the last pack of rice to a shanty of “dalits” or the lowest and poorest of the poor. As soon as the woman in the hovel received her share of food she immediately rushed to her neighbor’s hut to divide the meager food that she received.

When asked why she did that, the woman told the nun that she had something to feed her family with, but her neighbor did not have anything to eat at their table. So, she gave of what little she had, and did so gladly and generously.

The gospel account of the miraculous feeding of thousands of men, women and children is a story of sharing with generosity, sacrifice and love. When confronted with this huge headache of a problem, Jesus’ disciples suggested big but easy solutions: private initiative or collective spending. They thought in big terms, of solutions in grandiose style. Jesus, however, challenged them saying, “How about you; what do you have; what can you give?”

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The gospel story shows the remarkable solution starting from an unexpected source: the generosity of a young boy who was more than willing to sacrifice and share the little that he had: five loaves of bread and some fish. In giving all that he had, the young boy showed hope of the innocent and generosity of one so young. The older men present, including the disciples, were humbled at the youth’s sincere gesture.

More than giving of things, generosity is the sharing of what we are, what we have, of our time and of our capabilities for the benefit of others.
The gospel account points to the providence God has for all in need. In his hands and with his blessing the small amount of food fed the whole multitude. Everyone ate to his or her satisfaction, and—surprisingly—
more food remained. In God’s hands the little that is offered will go a long, long way. He does so in unmeasured terms and in ways beyond all telling. For, is He not the Giver of all good things?

What the good nun did for her city’s poor is a remarkable putting into practice what she, Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, saw and admired in her Lord, in our God.

The presence of our own “dalits” or “dalita” who are looked down many times as the “makuluoy’ng kabus” poses a big test to our sense of generosity and love for the poor in a Christ-like manner.

Big donations do come from time to time, as in the case of the wealthy couple who sacrificed by foregoing a big wedding banquet so that they could help the poor. Many others, as that poor woman living in a hovel, can and do share the little that they have or receive.

“Jesus said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”

But they said to him, “Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.” Then he said to them,” Bring them here to me,” and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.

They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over—twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.” Matthew 14: 19-21.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 03, 2014.

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