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God’s grace and our effort

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Those two parables Christ told his disciples that compared the Kingdom of God to some seed that when planted on earth would just grow, become big and bear fruit (cfr. Mk 4,26-34) highlight the truth of our faith that God always provides for our needs but we also have to do our part.

And yet, if I may, we can ask the question—that if God is that compassionate and generous, then why is there so much suffering, poverty and misery around? It would even look like God is completely indifferent to this sad condition worldwide. It would look like many people are left to rot in their miserable condition.

The answer, of course, is that, yes, God is always compassionate. He cannot tolerate seeing people suffer. He will always provide for all our needs. He even went to the extent of becoming man in Christ who had to offer his life to attain the greatest need of mankind—our salvation. With that supreme act of compassion and generosity freely done, what other need do we have that would not be taken care of by God?

The truth is that God has provided us with everything. From our life with all its natural endowments to the air and water, to the abundant food from plants and animals and other resources, he has given them all for us to use and to live with the dignity of being children of God.

The problem is that we do not know how to manage them, how to care and help one another. There is so much indifference and self-indulgence, the germs that would develop into a worldwide pandemic of social injustice and inequality.

In those two parables that compared the kingdom of God to some seeds, we are made to understand that we just have to do a little to correspond to what God is giving us, and things would just work out. That detail of the parables tells us that with a little help from us, the full wonder of God’s grace would be revealed to us.

In other words, we have to be reminded that as long as we do our part, no matter how meager it is, God will astound us with his own tremendous power. The prodigy of God’s powerful compassion can take place.

We simply have to do our part of helping one another, starting with the little things until we would be challenged to tackle bigger issues that would require extraordinary effort and sacrifice. But then again, whatever investment of effort, money and sacrifice we have to give, even if in our own estimation it is already quite sizable, is nothing compared to what God will give us in return.

Corresponding to God’s will in our own small way is the highest yielding investment we can make. Let us remember that God can never be outdone in generosity. Christ himself said: “Whoever has (referring to one’s faith and trust in God) will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” (Mt 13,12)

Let’s not forget that when we are sparing in our self-giving to God and to others, God will take away even the little that we have. The law that should rule our life is that of love, of total self-giving no matter what it would cost, though most times, the cost is really little only.*

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