September 27, 2015 — Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Nm 11: 25-29; Ps 19: 8, 10, 12-14: Jas 5: 1-6; Mk 9: 38-43, 45, 47-48
It has often been said that it is not the size or nature of the gift which is important; it is the attitude in which it is given. It is what is in one’s heart that is important. There are many quotes about this kind of giving, including that wonderful line in the Prayer of St. Francis, “It is in giving that we receive.”
Jesus makes reference to the importance of giving in today’s Gospel from St. Mark: “Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” Giving a cup of water may not seem significant to us, but to God, who sees into our very hearts, it can be of great consequence.
The keys are that the gifts are given out of love, not pity or guilt or because we may be blessed with excess. And they are given in Jesus’ name. Giving, especially of self, is a sign of our commitment to being a disciple of Jesus and as a sign that we truly “Love our neighbor.” Giving in this way is at the nucleus of stewardship. However, it can only be achieved if we have undergone a conversion of heart which leads us to understand that it is not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.