Even Jesus set an example of not wasting!
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Pope Francis focused on just one verse from this Sunday’s Gospel reading, considering this January 29 the Beatitude: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The poor in spirit, the Pope said, “are the ones who know they cannot rely on themselves, that they are not self-sufficient, and they live as ‘beggars before God.'”
They recognize that every good that comes from God is a gift and grace, he said, and they treasure what they receive.
Therefore, they desire that no gift should go to waste. Today, I would like to pause on this typical aspect of the poor in spirit: not to waste. The poor in spirit try not to waste anything.
Jesus shows us the importance of not wasting. For example, after the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, he asks that the leftover food be gathered so that nothing would be wasted (cf. Jn 6:12). Not wasting allows us to appreciate the value of ourselves, of people and of things.
The Pope lamented that, especially in affluent societies, there is a lot of waste, and the “throw-away culture is predominant.”
He thus proposed three challenges to confront the culture of waste:
1Don’t waste the gift that we are
The first challenge: not to waste the gift that we are. Each one of us is a good, independent of the gifts we have. Every woman, every man, is rich not only in talents, but in dignity. He or she is loved by God, is valuable, is precious. Jesus reminds us that we are blessed not for what we have, but for who we are. And when a person lets go and throws him or herself away, he or she wastes themselves. Let us struggle, with God’s help, against the temptations of believing ourselves inadequate, wrong, and feeling sorry for ourselves.
2Don’t waste the gifts we have
Then, the second challenge: not to waste the gifts we have. It is a fact that about one-third of total food production goes to waste in the world each year, while so many die of hunger! Nature’s resources cannot be used like this. Goods should be taken care of and shared in such a way that no one lack what is necessary. Rather than waste what we have, let us disseminate an ecology of justice and charity, of sharing!
3Don’t throw people away
Lastly, the third challenge: not to throw people away. The throw-away culture says, “I use you in as much as I need you. When I am not interested in you anymore, or you are in my way, I throw you out.”
It is especially the weakest who are treated this way – unborn children, the elderly, the needy and the disadvantaged. But people are never to be thrown out, the disadvantaged cannot be through away! Every person is a sacred gift, each person is a unique gift, no matter what their age or condition. Let us always respect and promote life! Let’s not throw life away!
A question for ourselves
The Pope proposed that we all ask ourselves how we live poverty of spirit:
Do I know how to make room for God? Do I believe that he is my good, my true and great wealth? Do I believe that he loves me, or do I throw myself away in sadness, forgetting that I am a gift?
And then – Am I careful not to waste? Am I responsible about how I use things, goods? Am I willing to share things with other, or am I selfish? Lastly,
Do I consider the weakest as precious gifts whom God asks me to care for? Do I remember the poor, those who are deprived of what is necessary?
May Mary, the Woman of the Beatitudes, help us witness the joy that life is a gift and the beauty of making a gift of ourselves.