We live in a time where utilitarianism abounds, and it shows in our interest in what is possible to obtain from a situation or relationship. This utilitarianism is a selfish way of looking at life, and it begs the question, what are we bringing that we expect someone else to match or surpass? Is this the correct equation to even consider?
“He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.” (Matthew 6:8-9)
Christ told the disciples to go out into the world with the bare minimum of necessities, with nothing of physical value, no presents, or advantages for whom they met beyond their gifts of selves through our Lord Jesus. And we have heard fantastic stories from the live journeys of the apostles, of how life-giving their interactions with the people were and how great their friendships were. All from giving and receiving themselves without expectation through our Lord. It is not about what we gain but about who we receive.
During the early Church, simple meals were shared in community, definitively in communion with our Eucharistic Lord. They were not rich banquets of culinary grandeur and pomp but were instead rich in community, relationship, faith, hope, and love.
We must indeed responsibly and justly contribute, physically and financially, whenever needed. Yet let us remember that healthy and life-giving relationships are not based upon things but upon our presence with each other.
May we bring to our relationships who we are and the wisdom we have gleaned. May the gift of our time and care and our conscious presence at every moment acknowledge the dignity of every individual we meet through Christ, our Lord.
Jesus is present to us – am I present to others?
Let us pray:
Help us, Lord, to be present for one another. May your love present in us, allow us to make you known to the world. Amen.