LIFESTYLE

Reflection: Share Your Blessings through Acts of Charity

Almsgiving is helping others. The kindness and generosity of God is received by everyone.

Why do we share with others? And why not?

The kindness and goodness of the Lord has made all things possible and available for us. He has always reminded us to remember and keep the covenant with Him: “You will be my people and I will be your God.” As God’s people, we have to follow his commands and precepts and so we will remain in Him, in the heart of God. But most of the time, we do our own will and way, without considering our covenant with God, we do our own. And if it is done far from the will of God, then this separates us from Him, partly or worst, totally.

In God’s goodness, we are all created in His own likeness and image. We are created with full dignity, yet differently as each one is unique and special. No one is ever the same or similar from each one. Each of us is so special that a person cannot be copied, replicated nor cloned as each one is breathed by a “soul.” Each one has his/ her own capacities and capabilities, talents and gifts, and is given opportunities and tests so that one can grow and develop as a mature and responsible individual and as a group or community of persons. We are also given equal and equitable opportunities but circumstances affect our motivations and attitudes to the givens in life.

Along the way, some have not really grown and developed into God’s expectations and standards, thus, people succumb to self- destruction and engage with different forms of injustice and oppression due to people’s taking advantage of their weakness, limits and failure of others.

Because of poverty, needs or caprices, people become dependent to their “so- called riches,” they engage in big loan applications from banks and companies, or they borrow money from lending institutions with their land as collateral. When people don’t have the chance and opportunity to work, people become dependent to modern-day usurers or “loan sharks” and end up ruined and helpless. And when people don’t have work to sustain their needs and “wants,” no properties and land to cultivate, then they need others to help them in their needs. This is a very common story that we always hear, in fact, these stories are in the papers and in television with all those TV drama series (teleseryes) that revolve around poverty and how people rise from their situation through other people’s help.

People are also categorized by society according to those “who have and have not.” In effect, more people are deprived of their basic needs, including their basic human rights and privileges. Only a few become richer while majority remains poor. This is where the invitation to give and to share is needed. To give what you have and to lovingly share what you can.

The concept of “almsgiving” is actually sharing in love and justice in concrete terms. When we give alms, it has to be our expression of compassion for our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Almsgiving is helping others. The kindness and generosity of God is received by everyone. There should be no poor among us as what the covenant says, for if we were a people of God, then there should be no one among us who live in misery and dire poverty.

Strictly speaking, there should be no “almsgiving” as each person is capable to work and earns his/her bread. But due to circumstances and effects of poverty, injustice, infidelity, usury, irresponsibility, laziness, greed, pride, among others; these people beg for mercy and seek alms. The Gospel talks about the “scraps on the rich man’s table,” yet it is worth sharing with the poor man. When one asks for alms, the person does not only beg for basic needs but also for life, to let the person live.

In this season of Lent, as one family, let us express our gratitude to God and share our love with our brothers and sisters through our acts of charity, through our simple and small works of mercy and kindness. St. Therese of the Child Jesus is an example for us in doing simple and little things if done in love is already a pleasing act before God. Alms, when given in love so that others may live, is keeping in faith our covenant with God.

As we prepare and reflect on the paschal mysteries of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us not forget that to give and share life with one another is an Easter joy as the Risen Christ had also done to us. Let us pause, pray and reflect on the following guide questions:

What is my attitude whenever I see and meet a beggar(s)?

Does my heart feel compassion and lead me to extend my hand and heart to help?

Do I share my blessing till it hurts? Or do I only share my extra blessing left?

Prayer: Loving and Provident God, may we never tire of sharing the goods that we have with our least brothers and sisters who are in dire need at this very moment. Open our minds and hearts to see the poverty, injustice and deprivation of peoples all over the world so that we can be channels of your love and kindness for all. Make us aware of our duty to praise you as we feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, and to be proclaimers of your favor for all. Be with us as we lovingly share the blessings we receive from You, with our families and friends, and with the strangers we meet, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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