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Are you generous?

The story is told about a guy who told his girlfriend: “Get me a newspaper.” The girlfriend said: “Don’t be silly. We are in the 21st century. Here, you can borrow my iPad.” A few minutes after she gave him the iPad, she heard a big “whack” sound, and she saw on the floor a dead fly, which never knew what hit it.

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In today’s Gospel (Jn. 6, 1-15), we hear of a little boy who gave away his five barley loaves and two pieces of fish. How could he know that his simple act of generosity could become the key to a great miracle—the multiplication of the loaves and fish that fed thousands of people? If the boy was not generous, there would have been no miracle so marvelous! A little generosity literally goes a long, long way.

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Are you a generous person? Are you a person who knows how to share? Are you willing to give till it hurts? Actually, generosity and gratitude are cousins. True generosity stems from deep gratitude, and true gratitude manifests itself in generosity.

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Someone once said that a good example of generosity is a mother who, seeing there are only four slices of pie for five people, promptly announces that she never cared for pie. Let us thank people who, in so many ways and in so many instances, gave us what rightfully belonged to them, especially those who did so without much fanfare and without expecting anything in return.

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As God has been generous to each one of us, let us also be generous to one another. The opposite of generosity is being selfish and stingy. Do we go through life with closed fists or open hands? Actually, those who have closed fists do not receive real blessings in life. Why? Because their hands are closed!

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Many of us are torn between being generous and being prudent. As we go on, we pray for true wisdom and guidance so that we can be “thrifty without being stingy, and generous without being wasteful.”

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“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” (Those are words from Winston Churchill.) Are you a giver or a taker? If you are a giver, are you a calculating giver, an expecting giver, or a resentful giver? May we learn to be generous, and to be truly generous.

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Today, Fil-Mission Sunday, we remember and renew our commitment to help our Filipino missionaries who have left home, country and family to “preach the Gospel to all creation,” braving deprivation, loneliness and even persecution for the sake of the Kingdom of God. Our Filipino missionaries are our gift to the world. We who have received missionaries from abroad in the past must now generously send out our missionaries. Export-quality na ang mga Pinoy missionaries!

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“But we need priests and religious here in the Philippines!” True. But the world needs them more. Generosity is precisely giving not out of our surplus. In 1965, on our 400th year as a Christian nation, our Filipino bishops established the Mission Society of the Philippines, a group of diocesan priests who will work in foreign missions to continue Christ’s vision and mission worldwide.

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All of us are missionaries, too. Let us all do our mission here, wherever we are, and whatever we’re at. Let us also pray for our missionaries “out there.” Let us be generous in helping them with our time, talents and treasures. Remember, God is never outdone in generosity. Whatever we shovel out comes back to us in bigger quantity. Why? Because God has a bigger shovel. We have a generous God, who knows, and who remembers!

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The happiest people I have met are the grateful and generous people. The most miserable ones, on the other hand, are the resentful, selfish and complaining people. Again, as it is our choice in life to be good or bad, to be happy or sad, it is also our choice: to be generous or tight?

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Do you ever wonder what happened to the generous little boy who parted with his barley loaves and fish? Rumor has it that he eventually became a baker and a fishing magnate! Kidding aside, we can speculate that he received the warmth and praise of the people after the miraculous incident, and went on to receive many material blessings, or perhaps eventually became a disciple of Jesus. Sow with generosity, and blessings will surely come your way.

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Think about it: “The reward we get from helping others is knowing that we have been blessed with the opportunity to do so. This reward doubles up in silence, and multiplies when done from our hearts. Loving kindness is our own way of thanking God for the gift of life.” Be generous. Be blessed!

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A moment with the Lord:

Lord, just teach me to be generous, and not count the cost, and not be worried about results. Amen.

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TAGS: Catholic Church, Fil-Mission Sunday, Fr. Jerry M. Orbos, generosity, Gospel, Missionaries, Moments, opinion, Religion, SVD
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