LISTEN: “The Gift of Others

Do we value the gift of others? How does the mass bring us to act against our modern tendency to isolate ourselves?

Full Text

God gives us so much. He is good and he is generous. Take a moment to consider all the things he has given to you; things that maybe you take for granted.  A sunny day, food on your table, a comfortable home, your freedom.

And what about the higher gifts he has given you, and to all of us? Divine revelation, his son, the Church, the sacramental life. Do we remember to say thank you for these things that we enjoy every day?

And there is another gift that we very likely overlook.  You see, one of the greatest gifts God has given us is each other.

Our friends, our neighbors, our fellow parishioners—whether they’re known, or total strangers, all people are made in the image and likeness of God and each human being is a unique manifestation of God’s image and likeness.  That means each of us is uniquely beautiful, uniquely wonderful, and so every person is a unique gift to the world, and to others.  They make us think, they make us laugh, they may inspire us, delight us even for a moment in passing.  They may teach us something we never knew before, thus making us more complete and perhaps holier for knowing it.  Each of us, in our own unique way, show others an aspect of God’s own character.  What beautiful gifts we are to each other. But do we recognize that?

Do we return a “Good morning’ with a blank stare? Do we gossip about others, or slander them?  Are we dismissive of others? Cruel or rude to others, or willfully inconsiderate of others? Do we allow ourselves to be annoyed or irritated by the flaws of others, forgetting that we also have flaws of our own?  How do we treat, or mistreat, the gift of the humanity and dignity of others we encounter?

God, and the Church, remind us of the importance of togetherness, and the great value of each person to others in a counter-cultural way.  Because in today’s culture where people want to be insulated from others, the counter-culture of Catholicism sees us being called to togetherness at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  The mass is where humans, who want to be insulated, surrender to the call to togetherness at mass. We freely choose to be in the company of other people—oftentimes, many of them strangers.

God calls us to gather together at mass to worship Him who created us all.  The worship of God involves togetherness and calls us to communion with one another, and with God.  It is during this time of togetherness that we are reminded that God calls us to love one another.  He also calls us to learn from Him in the liturgy of the Word, and to partake of the supper of the Lamb of God in holy communion.

We defy the devil every time we go to Mass. Not only because we worship God there, but because we freely choose to be together, and the devil wants us to be divided and isolated.  So let’s pray for God to guide our hearts and minds to look for, and recognize the value and dignity of others when we’re at mass, so that we can learn to treasure each other everywhere else in life. What a great gift we are to each other. May God help us to live our lives in accord with that Truth.


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