“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
My family threw me a party as I reached my 85th year. This is a reflection of what it can mean for any one who shares their blessings on others.
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus reminds his disciples during the Commissioning, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” (Mt. 10: 8). These words were not just for the disciples, but to each of us whose task is to spread the gospel, freely given to the world.
During my lifetime I cheated death twice; not me but the Lord granting me more time to accomplish his work. Recently with Covid - 19 where the doctor told my wife I had a better chance of dying than living. In 1995 I contracted Prostate Cancer and came through without the need for Chemotherapy. I use this as a manner of acknowledgement to the Lord’s use of struggles to reach a holy conclusion.
Looking back over 48 years of ordination it is now easy to see that nothing in life with God is by chance. God doesn’t cause evil but has a way of using the bad to create good in our lives. When we encounter circumstances that confront us it is a way God guides us, not by chance, but into a venture he already had in mind to fit his Will. Who among us can say that it is by chance that this or that happened, and God had nothing to do with the incident? Learning that Jesus’ words apply to each of us, we should take to heart that our task includes being open to the many unexpected events we may encounter in following the gospel.
Keep in mind that whatever we individually accomplish, in an insignificant manner, collectively through us all becomes a significance in the broader picture of life.
As I looked around the room at my audience the words of comfort rested on them. They are my charge and the blessings from God, through my prayers, have lifted their countenance in a way of receiving God’s love and mercy.
With all the needs each of those under my charge have, the grace given to me through holy orders transfers onto each one and God’s blessings pour out as the Apostles did at Pentecost. Each of us is a vehicle that allows the Holy Spirit to touch and dwell within the hearts and souls of those we pray for.
By baptism we too are expected to reach out to those under our individual charge and share the many graces that God has blessed us with. This birthday party was a way for these gifts to be given without cost!
Ralph B. Hathaway, May 2021