Grumbling Generosity

Sunday 25 in Year A

God is generous and God will pour himself out as much as we are able to receive. And our lives are about growing in that capacity to be able to be used and to receive the goodness of God.

Fr Richard Healey

So many of us have a whole mix of memories from our childhood, all the different experiences that we have. One of the memories that I don’t cherish that is not particularly precious to me is when we would do P.E. and sport at school. You know, if it was academics, if it was anything to do with the library. You know, I’m the person to go to, but I am not necessarily the most coordinated of people. And in fact, when we’ve talked about superpowers in the past, some of my friends said, Rich, you know, your superpower is being awkward. You know, you’ve nailed that very well. So that experience, when they break people into teams and you’d have the people that would be chosen and for some reason the jocks all got chosen first, and then they’d go down the lines of those people that were at least competent at being able to catch and to kick into all of the different kinds of things, which I wasn’t particularly good at. And so I was often coming down to the last few and just that kind of constant thing going through, please, at least let me not be the last person to be chosen today.

(1:11) – You know, let me be the second last because that would at least allow me to stand up and go, Well, I wasn’t the last to be chosen. So I think it’s getting into that mindset, whether it’s promotions at work, whether it’s being the favored child, whether it’s being the one who is there at the center of our friends circle. We’ve all had that sort of experience or perhaps some of you have it, but some of us have had that experience of of being feeling a little excluded, of not being the one that is the the flavor of the month. And that experience, I think, is what we need to get into if we to make any sense of the gospel today. That experience of of not being the the favor, the precious one. And that experience also of what it means to to be in our relationship with God. Because for a lot of us, I think we have this sense of a contract with God. You know, we believe that if we do the right thing, if we follow all the teachings and the commandments of the church, if we are the good little boys and girls that our parents wanted us to be, then we will merit to receive eternal life.

(2:25) – Then we will merit to receive God’s favor. And a lot of our prayers at Mass often pick up this theme. And even though it’s strictly speaking, not the teaching of the church, you know, we believe in grace. We believe in God’s favor. And yet for a lot of us, we do live our lives in our relationship with God in terms of a contract, often unspoken. But we believe that, yes, if we do the right things, if we toe the party line, if we keep the commandments, then God will have to, at the end of time, welcome us into the through the pearly gates and into the glory of heaven. But that’s not the way that Jesus tells the story. He doesn’t use this language of contract, of obligation, of duty. He uses instead the language of covenant, the language of friendship, the language of relationship, that the reason that we’re able to be in a friendship with God is because God is the one who takes all the initiative. It’s God who starts this process.

(3:32) – It’s God who invites us into freedom and into life. And so we might grumble at the generosity of God, that we might grumble that people that don’t seem to have done all the work that we have done, or at the time when Matthew was probably writing this, it was the Jewish people who were grumbling because the Christians, the Gentiles, the people who hadn’t gone and grown up all their lives, being faithful to the Torah and all the Mosaic law, that they had been suddenly welcomed into the Kingdom of God, welcomed into the family of God’s people without having to go through all of the horrors of of Catholic guilt and all of the different processes that are necessary for that. But we find that God is indeed this generous lover, this God who is calling us, longing for us, that we might experience that freedom and that grace. Was that a family wedding yesterday? My niece, the third of my nieces to get married this year, and two other nieces also gave birth this week. So it’s been a pretty busy time with the family.

(4:41) – So now seven great grand nephews and nieces that I can add to my resume. But that that gift of of two people just embracing and dedicating themselves to each other in love, you know, that freedom, the kind of that comes in that moment and particularly both of them are very heavily involved in church and and faith and they love God. And and God was very much at the center and, you know, making a dedication to Our Lady at the end of the nuptial mass. It was a beautiful kind of moment to be a part of. But that sense of just offering ourselves and often that’s all that we can do just to make ourselves available to God. Centers has a beautiful image of of what happens at the end of life. And she realized that what we need to do is simply be present and simply be available to God. She said, Look, God is going to fill us as much as we are capable of receiving. But she said, for some people that will be just this tiny little thimble that that’s all that they have grown in.

(5:55) – That’s all the capacity that they have to receive God’s love, this tiny little thimble. But God will pour himself into that thimble and that that person who only knows life in terms of the context of that thimble will experience just that abundance. You know, there’ll be that sense of being pressed down and overflowing. Others might have have grown their capacity to love, and they have a cup that they’re able to receive and God will pour himself out into that cup until there’s nothing more that is able to be given into that person. Others might be a bucket and they’ve so developed through suffering and through loving and through going through life, through loving others, and allowing God’s grace and mercy to flow through their lives, that they’ve grown that capacity from the thimble to the cup to the to the bucket. Others might be a much larger barrel or indeed a swimming pool of God’s grace that they’re possible to receive. But God is generous and God will pour himself out as much as we are able to receive. And our lives are about growing in that capacity to be able to be used and to receive the goodness of God.

(7:04) – So today we can continue to grumble about how unfair things are or we can receive the grace of God. We can stop living in a life that’s about a contract with God. We can start living in the covenant of God’s love, that we can open ourselves to that nourishing love of God that fills us and frees us and allows us to live with the wonder of His love in this present moment.

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In this podcast episode, the speaker reflects on their childhood experiences of feeling excluded during PE and sports activities at school. They discuss the mindset of not being the favored one in various aspects of life, such as promotions at work or being the favored child. The speaker then transitions to discussing the concept of a contract with God versus a covenant, friendship, and relationship with God. They mention a recent family wedding and reflect on the gift of two people dedicating themselves to each other in love. The episode concludes with the speaker encouraging listeners to be present and available to God’s love.

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