Wednesday of the 11th week in the ordinary time of the year A
Theme: Alms giving
Today the church celebrates the memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a Jesuit. He is known to have dedicated his life to the education of young students and taking care of the sick. He died at the age of 23 years and was canonized by Pope Benedict X111. He is the patron saint of youths, students and AIDS patients and caregivers. He willingly gave his life to God and courageously served the sick. We have a lot to learn from the life of the saint we celebrate today, in line with the two readings we have today. He willingly gave up the affluence of his family and embraced the religious life as a Jesuit. His case can be referred to as a total self-giving to God. He gladly worked with the sick, who were attacked by the plague.
In the gospel reading of today, Jesus emphasized the need for us to be secretive when we give alms. It should not be advertised like is commonly seen around us today. People are more comfortable when it is in public spaces, and they are celebrated by all those who are present there or privy of the situation. Jesus admonishes us to guide against such type of alms giving. However, it will not stop us from getting the reward that is attached to our generosity. But Jesus encourages us to keep our alms giving secret, so that the God who sees what we do in secret will reward us accordingly. Generally, our practice of piety should be treated with some level of secrecy, taking into consideration the fact that we are not advertising our good act. The admonition of Jesus in the gospel reading of today should be emulated by all of us as children of God, who practice one form of piety or the other.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, the 1st reading of today points out the fact that Jesus has no issues with our generosity. What is important is the way generosity is practiced. God loves a cheerful giver, and he encourages us to give sincerely. You don’t have to give what you cannot afford and get into debt, because the people around you are all giving. Generosity is a wonderful practice, and what matters most is the sincerity of the heart of the giver, not the size of what was given. Do you remember the story of the widow’s mite? Dearly beloved in Christ, do not give because you want to ‘save your face’ and at the end you begin to regret. Always give what you can afford happily, and God will continue to bless you and the works of your hand.
May the Lord grant us a generous heart, in the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.