"I am your brother Joseph, whom you once sold into Egypt. But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you." (Genesis 45:4-5)
Jesus said to his Apostles: "As you go, make this proclamation: 'The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost, you are to give. (Matthew 10:7-8)
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
St. Ignatius Loyola
An accepted “truism” these days is that one should be charged a nominal fee for a service, a program, a training so that it will be valued. Do we value God’s free gifts to us less – Creation, breath, humor, sensitivity, artistic ability (and on and on) because they are free? Joseph’s brothers would undoubtedly have valued grain with or without a cost because it meant life or death. Joseph gave them grain and gave them back their money with enormous mercy. Joseph modeled generosity in a magnificent way, not only forgiving his brothers but dispensing life to a famine-struck world when he and Pharaoh might have instead closed the borders to foreign refugees. Joseph turned betrayal and danger into the living hands of God reaching out to those in need and in loving embrace of family
Jesus sent the Disciples out to touch people’s lives with free, God-given abundance of faith. We have the opportunity to be in giving, generous relationships every day but first, we need to recognize and cultivate God’s generosity to each of us. Freely God gives to us. Nothing is ours without God’s beneficence and thus freely, joyously, we can give away the love gifted to us. In fact, when I accept God’s bounty with humble joy, I can begin to also see how privileged is my life. Free grace blesses me. Sharing my power in order to empower another, not just handing down charity to the less well-off, becomes my challenge: Without cost (I) have received; without cost (I am) to give
This week the Senate will again put forward legislation on healthcare. “Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, has provided a more detailed critique of the Senate "discussion draft" health care bill, dubbed the "Better Care Reconciliation Act" (BCRA). ‘Removing vital coverage for those most in need is not the answer to our nation's health care problems, and doing so will not help us build toward the common good, said Bishop Dewane. ‘For the sake of persons living on the margins of our health care system, we call on the Senate to reject changes intended to fundamentally alter the social safety net for millions of people.’"[i]
Although Bishop Dewane’s comments were specifically written for the bill which was not voted on, his insights are valid for this week’s debate and bill preparation. Share what is freely given – alert your Representative and Senator that health care for all people, especially the poor and vulnerable, is essential to the mental and spiritual health of America and certainly is of our generous, giving God.