"Better to practice almsgiving than to hoard up gold"

(Tobit 12.8)

'They asked us at school to bring 'something' for the poor and homeless.'
The girl was speaking with her mother.
Unruffled, the mother reassured her daughter
that she will prepare a nice package for her to give to the poor.
In her mind she was ticking away
all the stuff she does not need any more.
This is an excellent way to get rid of the junk that is cluttering her home…
clothes, toys, worthless items…
Satisfied of her good deed, she continued watching her soap opera on TV.
She felt so snug with her charitable deed.

Charitable? No, shameful!
Giving to the poor our junk is not charity.
The poor do not want what we throw away.
Why should they take our garbage?
Getting rid of what we were going to discard anyway
is not charity.
It is simply immoral.

The people who have less money than us
are made of flesh and bones.
They have a sensitive heart like ours.
They have a mind that feels aghast at all this injustice that surrounds us.
Obviously they take what we give them
because they can not do otherwise,
but in all truth they deserve better!

Someone defined this kind of 'charity'
as puppy love,
because dogs devour the crumbs that fall off our table.
[Even if dogs today many times are treated better than humans!]

Twenty centuries of Christianity
and we have not yet understood that the heart of Christian life
is not the beautiful liturgies in temples made of stone
nor is it our honest and busy life.

Twenty centuries of Christianity
and we have not yet understood that the axis of Christianity
rotates around loving the Lord our God above all else
and our neighbor as ourselves.

The Master even goes further.
He speaks about loving others as He has loved us.
How did He love us?
Have a look at the cross.
He did not give us the 'extras'
He gave us everything.
Even His life.

Everyone used to wonder why the Rabbi would disappear every Saturday night.
When he would return, his face would be aglow with joy.
Word went round that Saturday he would go up to heaven
and there he would meet God Himself, the Adonai, Holy is his name.
They decided to ask a detective to seek the whereabouts of this encounter.
This person discovered that every Saturday evening the Rabbi
would go to an elderly woman,
clean her house and prepare her food for the week,
then, he would see that she lacked nothing
and he would return home.
"Is it true that our Rabbi goes up to heaven Saturday evening?"
The people asked earnestly the person that followed the Rabbi.
"No, he goes even further up," he replied!

Christian love is not bought
nor is it sold.
Christian love is a gift
that comes from above.

We need to keep contact with Him constantly
to acquire this kind of love.
Our hands without yours, Lord,
remain cold in the winter of humanity.
Give us the wisdom Lord
that we may know how to look for you in those who need us
and love you in those who hate us.

When shall we go further up?

"Set aside part of your goods for almsgiving.
Never turn your face from the poor
And God will never turn his from you.
Measure your alms by what you have;
if you have little, do not be afraid to give less in alms.
So doing, you will lay up for yourself a great treasure
for the day of necessity.
For almsgiving delivers from death
And saves people from passing down to darkness.
Almsgiving is a most effective offering for all those who do it
in the presence of the Most High
(Tobit 4, 7-11)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.