Giving back and paying back

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THE Mass readings of December 22 somehow reminds us of our duty to give back and pay back what God has given us. We should do our best to at least be more aware of this duty and try to fulfill it in any way we can, although we know that we really cannot fully give back and pay back what God has given us.

In the first reading, from the First Book of Samuel (1,24-28), we are told of how Samuel’s mother was so grateful to God for granting her request to have a baby. “I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request,” she said. “Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.”

May it be that we are always aware of this duty and faithful in carrying it out. We need to make deliberate effort to develop this awareness since, given the temper of the times, the likely thing to happen is not only to ignore it but also to frontally go against it.

I am sure that with a little meditation of the truths of our faith about our real relationship with God, we would be filled with true joy when we realize who we really are. We can echo what the responsorial psalm of the day presents to us: “My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior.”

Not only that, we can also echo what Mary, the Mother of Christ and our Mother, said in her “Magnificat.” “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed…” (Lk 1,46-48)

As we can see, if we are truly guided and inspired by our Christian faith, there’s no way but for us to feel truly happy and blessed. No amount of difficulty, challenges, trials and all the negative things that we can encounter in our life here on earth can take away that joy and feeling of blessedness.

And this joy and blessedness is sustained and nourished to the extent that we continue to give ourselves to God and to everyone. We would always feel the need to give back and to pay back. We would not even need to be reminded by Christ that he expects much from those to whom he has entrusted with much. (cfr. Lk 12,48)

Let’s see to it that this Christian dynamic truly plays out in our life. When we notice that we are just indulging on ourselves—something that can happen in many very subtle ways these days—let’s try to be quick to correct it. We should fully dedicate ourselves to God and to everyone else.

This Christmas, let us resolve to train ourselves in this direction. It may take time and a lot of effort, especially at the beginning, but let’s not forget to undertake this training and to encourage others as well to do the same.

Let’s assure everyone that this is the way to be truly happy and united with God and with everybody else, despite our unavoidable differences and conflicts. To be sure, this is a very clear way of defusing the growing tension of misunderstanding, anger, hatred and even of war that we see around these days.

This would be the best gift we can present to Christ who gives himself totally to us this Christmas!