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How Much Can We Give?

Tuesday of the Eight Week in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Sirach 35:1-12

To keep the law is a great oblation,
and he who observes the
commandments sacrifices a peace offering.
In works of charity one offers fine flour,
and when he gives alms he presents his sacrifice of praise.
To refrain from evil pleases the LORD,
and to avoid injustice is an atonement.
Appear not before the LORD empty-handed,
for all that you offer is in fulfillment of the precepts.
The just one’s offering enriches the altar
and rises as a sweet odor before the Most High.
The just one’s sacrifice is most pleasing,
nor will it ever be forgotten.
In a generous spirit pay homage to the LORD,
be not sparing of freewill gifts.
With each contribution show a cheerful countenance,
and pay your tithes in a spirit of joy.
Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
generously, according to your means.

For the LORD is one who always repays,
and he will give back to you sevenfold.
But offer no bribes, these he does not accept!
Trust not in sacrifice of the fruits of extortion.
For he is a God of justice,
who knows no favorites.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 50:5-6, 7-8, 14 AND 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Gather my faithful ones before me,
those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his justice;
for God himself is the judge.
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Hear, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you;
God, your God, am I.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
“Offer to God praise as your sacrifice
and fulfill your vows to the Most High.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God.”
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Gospel: Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus,
‘We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

NAB

I recently witnessed a conversation between some faithful Catholic women about giving—how much is expected? What if we can’t afford anything? How can we say that God will repay us sevenfold if we’re not even able to pay our bills?

If you haven’t been in the position of counting every cent and coming up short for basics, it might be hard to imagine. If you have been there, you know the deep sadness of wanting to give but not being able to do it. Even the best budget planner can’t create something out of nothing.

As a child, I put ten cents from my weekly dollar allowance in the offering plate. We had small envelopes to bring our personal offerings. I felt so grown up putting my dime in and sealing it up. The greatest joy, though, was decorating my envelope. The first time I drew flowers and smiley faces all over it, I thought I was going to be in trouble, but my mom smiled and said it was “nice.” I embellished the envelopes each week, adding artwork from Bible stories or writing little notes to the people who counted the money.

Maybe the effort I put into my artwork was worth something. Today’s First Reading lists many ways to give back to God: observing God’s law, performing works of charity, giving alms, avoiding injustice, refraining from evil, paying homage, giving freewill gifts, our sacrifices of praise. While most of us think immediately of financial giving, there are many other ways to give. Maybe you have time to be on a committee or help clean up after Mass. Maybe you can volunteer in the church nursery or make food for funerals. Maybe, if you have neither time nor money, you can offer up your daily trials on behalf of someone else who is struggling.

When Saint Peter tells Jesus that he has given up everything to follow Him, Jesus doesn’t pretend that the decision is without cost. Following Jesus is hard sometimes, and giving is a struggle. In times of difficulty, though, we trust that God will provide for us, even if we can’t see exactly how that will happen.

Remember, God doesn’t need anything we can give. He already has everything. Our giving is our way of expressing our devotion to Him. To show God just how much we love Him, how much more can we find to give?

Abbey Dupuy writes her life as a homeschooling mama of four while relying on coffee and grace. You can find out more about her here.

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