Dominica VII per Annum C
24 February 2019
In the first reading young David goes up against King Saul. What I find most remarkable about the event is what you don’t hear about it. If you read the whole passage from the Bible and not just the selection used at Mass, maybe you too would find most remarkable what you don’t hear about the event. Reading the whole passage, you find that David has two men with him and they are making their plan to go up against King Saul and his three thousand troops. That’s three versus three thousand and one! In that passage, David asks his other two men who wants to go with him into the camp of King Saul. Only one man volunteers to go with David. That’s two against three thousand and one! What don’t you hear in the passage? You don’t hear the stuff that would be going through my mind if I were faced with those odds: “We don’t have enough. We’ll never make it.” David, trusting that the Lord is with him and is guiding his every step, does not worry about not having enough. He doesn’t doubt that the Lord’s generosity will provide.
Since King David is the traditional author of the Book of Psalms, we hear David’s response in the psalm today: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.” All my being bless the Lord’s name. I suggest that David’s words from the psalm show us his reciprocal generosity to God. David sings of the call to bless God with everything. All my being. That means there is a call to bless God with all that I am. With all that I have. And not just right now, but in every moment that has been, or is, or will be mine. Because ultimately my being, what I have, and my time is not my own, but is God’s gift. That’s how a disciple understands stewardship. My past, my present, my hoped-for future… may it all bless the Lord’s holy name!
In the Gospel selection the Lord tests the limits of the generosity of those who call themselves disciples. It is a shocking test of the limits of generosity. It is a test of whether we understand that being disciples involves the stewardship of our entire being. Listen to the generosity the Lord places before us: Love your enemies, do good to them, bless them, pray for them. Does someone strike you on the cheek? Give them the other one as well. Does someone take your cloak? Then give him the rest of your clothing too. And this line, “Give to everyone who asks of you.” Man alive! What is the point of that kind of generosity? It’s crazy. No, the point is that with such generosity you will be, not children of the world, but children of the Most High God. Children are supposed to resemble the traits of their parents. If we belong to God, if we are His children, if we are disciples of His beloved Son, then we are called to a generosity beyond our fallen natural tendency. Reciprocal generosity can be a scary ratio. Jesus says, “Give, and gifts will be given to you.” But in words that I heard once described, believe it or not, as some of the most scary words of the Gospel, he goes on to say, “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Depending on how we disciples practice stewardship of our time, of our talent, and of our financial treasure, those are either very comforting or very unsettling words. Our Heavenly Father wants them to be comforting because He wants us to resemble His generosity.