Saturday, January 1, 2011

IF JESUS WERE TO APPEAR BEFORE ME, HOW MUCH WOULD I OFFER HIM AS MY LORD AND GOD?

"And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11)

It is interesting to note the dispositions of the three Magi when came before Our Lord's presence as a child: they prostrated themselves in adoration and opened their treasures. They didn't just bow down as if before an equal... they "adored Him" and then offered the best they had to give in recognition of who He is as Lord and God.

The gold offered to Christ the King revealed that they truly recognized Him as a King who deserved the best, not just some trinket or token of honor. Frankincense reveals the prayer and adoration that is owed to Him as God as the prophets of old would offer to God in the Temple. Myrrh, the bitter perfume, foretells of the bloody sacrifice that Christ will offer as Priest and Victim which will ultimately bring about His own death. They offered gifts appropriate to the thanksgiving and homage owed to the One they were coming before.

The question then arises of how do I repay the Lord in return for what He has given to me in my life? Is the offering I give Him in my weekly church offering or what is offered to the poor equal in degree to what I should truly give to Him?

The measure that we give is the measure of how thankful we are to Him and grateful for what He has already done for us.

I find that the majority of Christians offer Him merely our "leftovers". Serving as a priest on an Indian Reservation I see so many who run to the casino and waste hundreds of dollars or more each week, but when they come before the Lord who frees them from sin and offers them eternal Life... they give just a few bucks, or perhaps if they are really generous, a five dollar bill. But this isn't just something that goes on here... it is everywhere. How much do we spend on gifts at Christmas time and shopping for others or even for ourselves in a month on things we really don't need... but how much less we offer back to God in comparison. And we think He doesn't notice.

Jesus notices everything we offer Him. When He frequented the Temple, His Father's House, He watched the people putting their offerings into the collection:

And Jesus sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money into the treasury, and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. And calling his disciples together, he saith to them: Amen I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want cast in all she had, even her whole living. (Mark 12 :41-44)

Again, it is interesting to note how the majority gave the "leftovers" from their abundance but the poor widow offered Him all that she had, even her whole living. I find that we give to the same degree that we recognize and love God and are thankful to Him. I also recognize how much I have to grow in this area as well. I need to be more like the woman who was a sinner who came before Our Lord's presence in the Pharisees house and washed Our Lord's feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and then kissed His feet and anointed them with a costly alabaster jar of ointment. Our Lord reproached Simon and told Him:

A certain creditor had two debtors, the one who owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And whereas they had not wherewith to pay, he forgave them both. Which therefore of the two loveth him most? Simon answering, said: I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And he said to him: Thou hast judged rightly. And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon: Dost thou see this woman? I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet; but she with tears hath washed my feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them. Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since she came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint; but she with ointment hath anointed my feet. Wherefore I say to thee: Many sins are forgiven her, because she hath loved much. But to whom less is forgiven, he loveth less. (Luke 7:41-47)




May we learn on this Feast of the Epiphany how to give and to be thankful to Our Lord in return for how much He has already graciously given to each of us.

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