Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20

When the feasting was over, Tobit called his son Tobias and said, “My son, you ought to think about paying the amount due to to your fellow traveller; give him more than the figure agreed on.” So Tobias called his companion and said, “Take half of what you brought back, in payment for all you have done, and go in peace.”

Then Raphael took them both aside and said, “Bless God, utter his praise before all the living for all the favours he has given you. Bless and extol his name. Proclaim before all men the deeds of God as they deserve, and never tire of giving him thanks. It is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right to reveal and publish the works of God. Thank him worthily. Do what is good, and no evil can befall you.

“Prayer with fasting and alms with right conduct are better than riches with iniquity. Better to practise almsgiving than to hoard up gold. Almsgiving saves from death and purges every kind of sin. Those who give alms have their fill of days; those who commit sin and do evil, bring harm on themselves.

“I am going to tell you the whole truth, hiding nothing from you. I have already told you that it is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right too to reveal in worthy fashion the works of God. So you must know that when you and Sarah were at prayer, it was I who offered your supplications before the glory of the Lord and who read them; so too when you were burying the dead. When you did not hesitate to get up and leave the table to go and bury a dead man, I was sent to test your faith, and at the same time God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ever ready to enter the presence of the glory of the Lord.

“Now bless the Lord on earth and give thanks to God. I am about to return to him above who sent me.”

Mark 12:38-44

In his teaching Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.”

He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.”

Jesus’ commandment to us is to “Love one another as I have loved you.” How did Jesus love us? He gave us his body. He withheld nothing back, and made his body, his life, a total and sincere gift. This is how Jesus loves; this is how God loves. God’s love is life-giving, and it is generous. Each of us is called to love others in this same way.

In the first reading, we see that generosity to our fellowmen is a sign of our love for them. In order for our love to imitate God’s, our love must be generous. Among married couples especially, if their love for each other is to imitate God’s love, then their love too must be life-giving and generous. One of the reasons why married couples today have few children is because they think that having another child would result in fewer luxuries in their life, fewer material comforts. Some couples say that they would rather buy a new car or move to a bigger flat or to go for more holidays, rather than to have another child. This is a love that is not life-giving or generous, because it is self-seeking.

How generous are we called to be? In the gospel reading, Jesus tells us that we are to give everything we have. That does not mean to empty our paycheck into the church offertory boxes, but rather, to make sure that everything we earn is put to good use in the greater glory of God. Only you can tell whether the way you use your money is for God’s greater glory or your own.

The Catholic Church does not enforce tithing, but tithing is a good practice for us to maintain. By including a certain percentage of our earnings into our monthly budget, we allocated a certain amount - hopefully one that eats into our expenditure and is not something we have left over - that is to be used for God’s greater glory. It could go into the church’s offertory boxes, or towards St. Vincent de Paul collections, or for church fund raising, or to church organizations that need money, or to fund a less fortunate child’s education, etc.

Whatever it is we use the money for, so long as we have the desire that it be used to build up the kingdom of God, it is money well used. In all cases, we are called to give generously, just as we are called to love generously.

O Lord, we pray that all Christians, in their desire to imitate your love for us, be more generous in all that they do. Amen.

Give Thanks to the Lord for: Those who love generously.

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