Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Good Measure, Packed Together, Shaken Down and Overflowing

I know I'm a little slow sometimes.

I'm still thinking about last Sunday's Gospel from Luke (6:27-38):

Jesus said to his disciples:“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.

Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you,what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you,what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same.

If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, and get back the same amount. But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
I was thinking about this Gospel earlier this week. You see, my sister-in-law is starting a children's clothing "pantry" for those in need - connected with her parish's food pantry. And I have a basement that is packed, shaken down and overflowing with children's clothes. I'm all for the practicality of hand-me-downs and keeping things I know I'll need, but there does come a certain point where Luke 3:11 comes in: "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none." Instead of storing all of the things I may need in the future - why not let them be used by someone who really needs them right now?

So I spent part of Friday night and yesterday morning digging through clothing tubs (some of which were, quite literally, overflowing) and collecting surplus hangers. I really needed to do this for my own sake, too. We have such an abundance of clothing that I need to give some of it away just to get things back under control again. Life has a certain amount of chaos all on its own, but too many material blessings can be a burden, when they are not shared.

A related thought from the Catechism:

1936 On coming into the world, man is not equipped with everything he needs for developing his bodily and spiritual life. He needs others. Differences appear tied to age, physical abilities, intellectual or moral aptitudes, the benefits derived from social commerce, and the distribution of wealth. The "talents" are not distributed equally.

1937 These differences belong to God's plan, who wills that each receive what he needs from others, and that those endowed with particular "talents" share the benefits with those who need them. These differences encourage and often oblige persons to practice generosity, kindness, and sharing of goods; they foster the mutual enrichment of cultures:

I distribute the virtues quite diversely; I do not give all of them to each person, but some to one, some to others....I shall give principally charity to one; justice to another; humility to this one, a living faith to that one....And so I have given many gifts and graces, both spiritual and temporal, with such diversity that I have not given everything to one single person, so that you may be constrained to practice charity toward one another....I have willed that one should need another and that all should be my ministers in distributing the graces and gifts they have received from me. [St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue I,7]

No comments: