JESUS THE ADDICTED GIVER
There is a TV programme at the moment that is exploring the various addictions that people have.
We are all aware of the common addictions – alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, chocolate etc.
But of course there are all kinds of addictions and some addictions are surprising and exotic.
Hoarding things can be a big addiction. I remember hearing a few years ago of a parish priest in Northern Ireland who had a very unusual and exotic addiction. He was addicted to and a hoarder of milk bottles. He never threw away a milk bottle. When he had finished the milk he washed the bottle and stacked it away in his house. When the poor man died – at a great age – those cleaning out the presbytery had an awful job getting rid of the thousands and thousands of milk bottles – perfectly cleaned and stacked neatly in rows.
Many of us remember the humble milk bottle before the days of the throw away cardboard or plastic cartons. At night we used to put our washed milk bottles out on the porch step for the milk man who came along at 4 or 5 in the morning and left us the new milk for that day. As a child I loved milk bottles and played with them. We had nice milk bottles in Dublin. They were fat and squat and they had a lovely verse on the side which read:
Your milk comes in a bottle;
We can’t bring round the cow;
So please rinse and return them;
You are now all asking: “What’s wrong with poor Pat tonight that’s he’s talking about addictions and milk bottles? Has he finally lost the plot? Should we send for the men in the white coats”?
No! No need for that yet. This is Holy Thursday. This is the beginning of the Easter Three Days (Triduum) when we Christians meet to celebrate the life giving death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
On Holy Thursday we celebrate the memory of THE LAST SUPPER when Jesus met with his disciples to break Bread, share the Cup, wash the feet and then go to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray, sweat blood and be arrested.
Today I want to talk of the addiction that Jesus had. Jesus was addicted to GIVING.
At The Last Supper He gave us the priceless gift of His Body and Blood to be our spiritual food on life’s pilgrimage from our cradle to our grave and to celebrate the Memory of Him.
And after the Last Supper He went into the lonely night garden to give Himself over to the Father – to give Himself over to His captors to give Himself over to His Crucifixion for our salvation.
Don’t forget that Jesus GAVE HIMSELF over to death. No one forced Him. In the Scriptures He says: “Just as I have laid down my life – so will I take it up again”.
On Holy Thursday we honour JESUS THE ETERNAL GIVER.
What implications has that for us His followers?
The implication is crystal clear. We too are called to be GIVERS. We too are called to the “mad” addiction of GIVING. The true Christian is primarily a GIVER and not a taker.
In school when they tried to teach us singing they got us to sing: DO – RAY – ME.
And instinctively as children and later as adults we are tempted to be TAKERS – to put ourselves at the centre and sing that childish, instinctive verse – ME - ME – ME.
But the Grace of God in our lives should transform us into GIVERS – HELPLESS GIVERS – ADDICTED GIVERS.
Today we ask ourselves the question: Do I have the same addiction as My Lord. Am I a giver?
When we open our eyes after our death we will be looking into the eyes of Jesus and His eyes will be questioning eyes – asking:
Did you GIVE to the hungry?
Did you GIVE to the thirsty?
Did you GIVE to the naked?
Did you GIVE to the sick?
Did you GIVE to the prisoner?
Did you GIVE your home over to the stranger?
I we can answer “YES” we will be the fortunate ones.
If we answer “NO” what will be our destiny?
Not all nice verses are carved on the sides of milk bottles. Here is one that should be carved into our hearts:
I SOUGHT MY GOD AND MY GOD I COULD NOT SEE.
I SOUGHT MY SOUL AND MY SOUL ELUDED ME.I SOUGHT MY BROTHER – AND I FOUND ALL THREE.
The places at your table are empty. GO OUT AND FILL THOSE PLACES
17th April 2014