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Another take on gift-giving

November 29, 2010

Sunday’s homily by the pastor at St. Luke the Evangelist in Westborough, Monsignor Mike, was wonderful. Instead of the usual “we all need to slow down from the Christmas madness” theme (which, by the way, is always a good theme), he instead preached about a different take on gift-giving.

A few weeks earlier, Msgr. Mike talked about his “celebrate food” diet. This was a diet he created to help him lose weight, but better yet, also improve the relationship between himself and food. He mentioned in his homily that food is good, a creation from God. And our bodies are good, also a creation from God. The trick is bringing these two good things together and creating more good. As we know, if we don’t eat in the right way, we get fat and unhealthy. Msgr. was teaching us about a healthy spiritual balance. He used his “celebrate food” diet to teach himself to enjoy what he ate more thoroughly by eating slowly, thus reducing the amount of food taken in (and all diet experts agree that this is sound advice). As a result, he lost 25 pounds over the last several months. He introduced the diet to his brother, and he lost weight too.

Now Msgr Mike was applying the same principal to gift-giving: bringing two good things together – the gift, and the fact that we love someone enough to give them a gift.

He then gave an example about a deacon at his former parish who had been reassigned, and his wife. Msgr. was very fond of the deacon and his wife and wanted to give them something to show how he felt. He felt God urging him to give them a cross he had received as a gift from a group in Haiti, a cross that he himself was very fond of. He gave the cross to the deacon and his wife and thus gave a part of himself. Msgr. Mike admitted that he missed the cross very much, and also missed the deacon and his wife, but was very glad they had it.

He then suggested that we pray over and discern what gifts we should give to our loved ones. What an obvious and yet novel thought! It certainly puts a whole new light on giving.

Ideally each moment of our lives should be sacramental in nature; here’s a wonderful way to weave that mentality into Christmas gift-giving.

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