My Happiness Depends on Your Success … Proportional to What I Give Away
It was interesting to listen to the Deputy Premier/ Treasurer of Western Australia last night: she was praising the State Government for being reinstated with a AAA credit rating by the international firm: Moody’s. This means a lower interest rate for debt repayments, and that the economy is back to strength. Largely due to a huge surplus of income for the Government.
Unfortunately, they intend to use only a small amount of surplus to pay off debts, and use the rest as giveaways. This is unfortunate, and selfish, for several reasons:
- We don’t know if a new crisis will come tomorrow, like COVID-19 =foolish;
- We are leaving debts for our children to pay off so we can live more easily today =selfish;
- We are creating a false reality of easy life and plenty of money =increase anxiety & stress;
- We are saying, “no need to sacrifice” for tomorrow =setting us up for failure.
The First Reading reports how God’s Word comes and returns. It does something and comes back – so God can send it out again. In contrast, our richer societies seem to be receiving good things, but are less willing to pass them on. Is this true?
It was heartening to hear in the newspaper recently that younger people are more active in helping to share food with people in need in Australia during this time when rent, power and water have increased. This reminds me of the way poorer people in Kenya seem to be the most generous to those around them: one example being the youth who was inspired to start up a food program for poor people in Mathare Slums in Nairobi, and asked others to help.
One of the diseases of modern life is our desire to hoard things. Our fear of not having enough for tomorrow. And, to be transparent, my mentor once said it’s a sin for the Church to have a property and leave it idle (say a piece of land). At the very least, a person could lease the property or poor people could be allowed to cultivate it to sustain their families.
In contrast, the Gospel reports how God is overly generous! To the point of wasting the seed by throwing it on barren pathways and rocky ground as well as in thorny areas and good soil.
Imagine if the heads of grain, ready for harvest, refused to release their seed? People would starve, the harvest would eventually die off, and there would be no seed for the next year.
When we hoard things, we can create a division between others with less, and, one day, we will need each other to survive the challenges of tomorrow.
It is very instructive to recall that during COVID, surveys in Australia reported that the majority of families felt closer to each other because of the hardship and lockdown.
During stressful times, some people lose their faith, while others say they feel closer to God. I believe it reflects what those people have done during the good times. Have they (WE), sown like God (with generosity), or with fear and scattered very little?
But, don’t lose hope! St Paul encourages us in the 2nd Reading: “…but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God.”
Life is a struggle to trust that God will be there for us tomorrow, if we share what we have with other people today. The amazing thing is that God never stops “sowing” the Word in the world around us.
In simple words, we are called to become the WORD for others: by what we speak, by what we do, and by who we are.
When we die to our selfish desires, we come alive in the goodness of others: in a sense, we become newborn as we help others to grow stronger: my happiness depends on your success!
Faith and inner peace grow in proportion to how much we are willing to give away:
our time, patience, being the centre of attention, smiles and food.
In a world obsessed with collecting things, I wish you blessings as we try to give away.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI