On Being a Person for Others
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

John chapter 6, verses 1 - 15

As Christians we tend to be "givers," but to what extent are we genuinely Christian givers?

Clearly, much of our day to day giving is practical and often though not always, self-serving.

We spend time, energy and material resources in order to preserve and foster what is perceived to be a beneficial relationship with family, friends, politicians, business connections, and yes, God!

In other words it is often about us and, in as much as it has little or nothing to do with being a person for others, it cannot be characterized as "Christian."

Witness the child who gets more money and gifts than personal attention or the elderly parent who, once placed in a suitable home, is all but forgotten.

And how often do we wine and dine friends amidst laughter and camaraderie, while scrupulously ignoring their obvious emotional needs?

Many of the major charities are discovering the benefits of supporting themselves not simply with tax free gifts but by giving us a chance to win mega prizes in the process.

What does that tell us?

In the end, it should be about loving relationships within a context of significant variations in levels of intimacy.

It should be about being personal without being intrusive or demanding of recognition, sensitive without being overly paternal or maternal, in other words, concerned without being controlling.

But mostly, it is simply about being, as was Jesus, a person for others.

How falsely it would ring were we to preface the story of Jesus feeding the multitudes by suggesting that He and His intimates put the hungry crowd on hold and, protected by a ring of security, sat down to a nice picnic supper.

Then over a cup or two of wine, they discussed how, if at all, to meet the urgent needs of the people.

We all know what really happened but what we donít know is whether or not after distributing all that food they kept some for themselves.

The probable answer is yes but only when they were certain that everyone else was satisfied.

A tough act to follow!

Yet, we all know people like that. They are very special people.

They honestly prefer to give than to receive. They are good listeners and take pleasure in going out of their way in order to ease other peopleís burdens.

As I think about it, I realize that these are also the best-adjusted and happiest people I know.


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