Giving even when you have little

Just last week, I witnessed a young girl (must be around ten years old) in old clothes and unkempt hair inside the church who kept looking at her coins for quite sometime. Then, she placed those back in her pocket. Then, she again reached out for them. She was, perhaps, debating on whether or not she’s going to give alms. When the church volunteer came near her aisle, she hesitantly dropped the coins inside the collection plate.

This reminded me of this part of the Bible --- “Mark 12:41-44 41 And he sat down over against the treasury, and beheld how the multitude cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 42 And there came a poor widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than all they that are casting into the treasury: 44 for they all did cast in of their superfluity; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”

Some weeks ago, a theologian from Myanmar, during a press conference held at the sidelines of Congress of Asian Theologians (CATS), said that people had to be shown the needs of their fellowmen so they can be challenged to be interested in helping them. She added that there is a need to be aware that people outside of our family are also suffering and that our efforts have to include them. She also posed a challenge for the rich who are spending their money needlessly regardless while there are some who are suffering. We are challenged to share more.

Just yesterday, my partner told me that an actress revealed that she bought a bag for one million pesos. I was shocked because that’s so much money to spend for a bag. I figured that the money could have been spent on some pro-poor projects or invested on education for some children who cannot afford to go to school, or any basic need that many people nowadays are having a hard time availing of. But I know I was very quick to judge for my partner pointed out that she’s probably spending more on helping the poor, we just don’t know about it. True. (But still, that’s one million spent on a bag?????)

I’ve seen many rich people who join together and create projects that can help the poor. Many rich people, aware of their blessings, decide that it is their responsibility to help the less fortunate. I’ve also seen people from the middle class who do the same. Even some of those whom many consider as “less fortunate” volunteer their time, effort, talent and voice to ease the burden of others. Thus, whether you are rich or poor does not matter. Willingness to help should never be about the level of one’s material possessions.

Pope Benedict recently said that greed is the reason why an economic crisis is felt around the world. Perhaps by learning to let go of some part of our material possessions, of our time or of our talent to serve the public, maybe, poverty will become a thing of the past./Marie Katherine Villalon

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