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"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:20


Reflection on the Gospel for September 23, 2019

Laura DeMaria

This is today’s Gospel (Luke 8:16-18):

Jesus said to the crowd:
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

All seems well and self-explanatory til those last confusing lines.

Here’s my thoughts: everything that we have has been given us by God - wealth, good looks, intelligence, healthy relationships, a good job, a place to live, a nice view, a comfortable chair. God gives, we receive.

However! We play a role in the relationship: in order for it to be a gift, we must knowingly accept what God gives us.

I have written about acedia before, which is, in short, the rejection of God’s goodness in our lives. I turn again to that theme now.

Looking at Jesus’s words again, he makes it clear that those who have much will receive more. I interpret that now as: those who have been open to what I have given them, will receive more. I will trust them with my gifts, because they choose to listen and love me, rather than turn away.

Maybe, too, showing gratitude and acknowledgement means that every little thing becomes a gift - the way the sunlight looks coming through the blinds in the morning, the perfect timing of the bus ride home, the blessing of a much-needed item on sale. No wonder those who have much receive more - they are simply able to recognize it.

Otherwise, by our life and action - the smallness of our own outlook - we turn away from God. Of course it seems we have little; we are unable to accept what God wants for us, and asks for us, by living in a way that is closed off from others, stingy and scared. We live in acedia.

I do not, by the way, equate receiving “gifts” to any kind of harmful prosperity gospel. We know God’s real gifts are not earth-bound; they are metaphysical and spiritual gifts that help us help others. They are gifts like wisdom and teaching, not a jetski and a buffet.

God never tires of giving. I think it is more often we frustrate His gifts with our own uncertainty of His love.

Here’s one more thought on acedia from the archives. “They multiply their sorrows/who court other Gods.” (Psalm 16:4).