God’s generosity cannot be out-done. It is overflowing. Abundant. Without measure. This is the image of God that comes to me at the consecration of the Eucharist at Mass. There, on the Altar as the wine and bread become the Body and Blood of Jesus, in the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas:
O hidden God, truly hidden beneath these appearances…sight, touch, taste are all deceived in their judgment of you…
There, in the Chalice and on the Paten, God’s generosity is manifested in a way our senses fail to recognize; indescribable grace flows from Jesus’ true presence, like the waters flowing abundantly from the temple (Ezekiel 47).
Today’s first reading (Aug 10 – Feast of St Lawrence) speaks along these lines. We are called to sow bountifully, and God in His abundance provides the means for the work:
The point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. – 2 Cor 9:6-10
No matter how generous we are, God is ever the more generous, not to be out-done. God’s boundless outpouring is the means of our success, our “harvest of righteousness”.
Yet, the invitation is intensified in the Gospel of John 12:24-26. Jesus challenges us to be generous without measure, like a “grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies…it produces much fruit.”
Falling, dying to self, is fruitful. Just as it was for Christ to die on a tree, only to have that tree be the root of abundant harvest; of abundant life.
If we attempt to comprehend God’s goodness we will find ourselves desiring to follow his example, even to die to ourselves, and in our dying, bear much, much fruit.