There was a story about a man who had heart bypass surgery. For recovery they have you do an exercise program, and it was emphasized that he must do this program “religiously.” He goes to the doctor who asks him if he has been exercising. He replies, “Yes. Religiously.” “How is it going?" the Doctor asks. He said, “Well, at first, it was kind of tiring doing all those exercises once a week ...” “Once a week!” the Doctor exclaimed. “Yeah,” he replied, “you know, you said to exercise ‘religiously.’ So just like church, I do them every seven days.”
Christ is the pattern the example and paradigm of true and complete generosity and sacrifice, in that He gave Himself as atonement for our sins. (We sing: “We Remember how He loved us to His death…”) Today Jesus speaks of the widow who contributes from her poverty and not her surplus wealth. She must have understood that all she had came from God, and how could she not share!
There is a hymn I love: ‘You Are All We Have.’ The refrain words are: ‘You are all we have. You give us what we need. Our lives are in your hands, O Lord, our lives are in your hands….Verse: ‘All good things, Lord, all good things that I have come from you…How wonderful are your gifts to me, how good they are!’ In the light of understanding that all good gifts come from God, how can we dare to turn from generosity and give back our time, talent and treasure? (Do you have a Ministry yet?)
We are all dependent on God, and it is up to us to be His arms, His hands, His feet and His hugs for those around us who need our care, solace, empathy and generosity. Living ‘religiously’ is a 24-7 proposition—not just on Sundays where we can be seen in “seats of honor.” As we near the end of this liturgical year, we are challenged to think about end times—our own and this world’s—so there is no room or time for procrastination or excuses. We better get busy!