Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday of the First Week of Advent

"Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” - Matthew 9:35-10:8

In today's Gospel, Jesus gives his disciples not just the authority to perform miracles but a special mission to give of themselves to the "troubled and abandoned" and "lost sheep". When we think of giving ourselves to others, we naturally think of our talents. Our talents are our unique abilities that we can do especially well. However, in thinking that we give only from our talents, we start to forget that what we can do exceptionally well does not completely define the extent from which we can give.

We each may have a few talents, but our gifts are more abundant. Henri Nouwen wrote, "our gifts are the many ways in which we express our humanity...friendship, kindness, patience, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, love, hope, trust..." These gifts are often things we take for granted and do not think as gifts to give others. For most of our lives, we sometimes struggle to give because we remember how hard we had to work to cultivate and maintain our talents. So, the idea of giving it away to those who did not put in the time to earn these talents sometimes seems unfair to us. However, we must remember that God is the source of all good things. He freely gave us the seeds of our talents and our gifts so we may give to others.

"True joy, happiness, and inner peace come from the giving of ourselves to others". Lord, grant us the grace to give freely to others the same joy, happiness, peace, and love that we experience when we acknowledge and show gratitude for your gifts to us.

Are we aware of the gifts we have in our daily lives? How can we be more willing and alert to times when God calls us to give to others?

adapted anonymously from Henri Nouwen

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