June 30, 2024 – The Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time [Year B]

Fr. Drew Hoffman

           When I was a sophomore in college, a seminarian from Nebraska visited my college bible study to speak with us about his discernment. It was during that talk that I first heard of “The Law of the Gift,” the truth deeply written in the human heart that all things are a gift from the Lord and from others. Even if I have worked hard, I have received EVERYTHING as a blessing from the Lord and others in my life. Because of this, our lives only make sense to the degree that we return them as a gift to the Lord and other people. When we hoard things for ourselves, we halt the divine rhythm of life… we receive, and we give, we receive, and we give. When I first heard this, I knew two things. The first was that the happiest people in my life–my parents, teachers, and priests–lived this way. The second was that I had to see if the priesthood was the way Jesus was asking me to live in this way. It has been the great guiding principle of my life.

           The Law of the Gift is a truth written in the human heart because we are made in the image and likeness of God. As the first reading from the Book of Wisdom tell us, “For God formed man to be imperishable, the image of his own nature he made him.” We are made in the image of a God who constantly gives Himself! The Holy Trinity exists as a continuous gift of self between the Three Persons, holding nothing back from the other Persons. The Second Person of this Trinity, Jesus Christ, gives Himself totally on the Cross so that you and I may have salvation. And even in our Gospel, we hear that power had gone out from him when the woman with hemorrhages touches Him. He becomes poor and weak so that we may become strong! As Paul tells us in the Second Reading from 2 Corinthians, “For you know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” But this is not just the role of Jesus or the Trinity. I am made in the Image of God, so it is my responsibility as well!

           The great fear of our hearts is that I we give something away, if we’re generous with the Lord and those in need, that we will be left wanting, that we will go without because we gave something away. But the great promise of Christianity is that in our gift that we receive. The soul who gives away is never left without blessing and reward. The Lord ensures that our needs are taken care of when we are generous, as St. Paul reminds us in the Second Reading: “Whoever had much did not have more and whoever had little did not have less.” Jesus gives of Himself, to the hemorrhaging woman and on the Cross, and it costs something! He loses power, and eventually His life. But it is always returned, packed down and overflowing!

           The hemorrhaging woman takes a great risk to approach Jesus, and she is rewarded with a cure! What am I not willing to risk? Where do I think Jesus is holding out on me? Where do I wonder whether my generosity will be worth it? The Law of the Gift is a reminder that everything we have is a gift from the Lord, and it is always worth the risk to give Him everything! What is he asking us to give today?