Anyone who has ever dealt with addiction of any kind knows that the first step to recovery is admitting that we have a problem. Part of the human condition is that we are all addicts; we are all addicted to sin. In the first reading today from Daniel 9, we see that first step in the process from Daniel. “We have sinned, been wicked and done evil; we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.” Lent is a great time for us to come clean with God.
Our Gospel reading today is from Luke 6, the Sermon on the Plain. Jesus gives rules for living out the Christian life. “Be merciful…stop judging…stop condemning…forgive…” He then says, “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” This saying really concentrates on one of the three pillars of Lent: almsgiving. But what about these “gifts” that we will receive when we give?
I’m a believer that the “prosperity gospel” is a false gospel. And yet the prosperity preachers will use this verse to bolster their argument that when you give (to their ministry, of course) you’ll receive back money, cars, a great job, etc. Jesus used the word “gifts.” So what could these “gifts” be? Perhaps the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord. Or maybe the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These gifts are worth more than any amount of money or worldy good that could ever be had.
Father, tecah us generosity. Through our giving, may we be blessed with whatever gifts you see fit to bestow upon us. Amen.