While growing up, I somehow developed the notion that accepting charity was a sign of weakness. From the outside looking in, it might appear that society as a whole has also adopted this perspective. Charity is only for the poor and downtrodden, but who determines the appropriate ways to judge a person as such? In truth, everyone has experienced hardships at one point or another, and has been in need of help from their community, whether they are willing to admit this or not.
When personally denying charity in the past, I made myself believe this was a sign of strength. It was not till I found myself lacking everything, with no choice but to accept charity, that I realized true strength comes from the acceptance of help from others. In light of Pentecost, we should be reminded that we are all different with varying gifts, but still part of the one body. The simple act of allowing another to help you allows the Holy Spirit to unite the body and make it stronger. Jesus said, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Mark 12:17. It seems as though society has lost sight of what real charity means. Charity can be a one-way transaction as opposed to a mutual exchange. A mutual exchange of love is essentially an exchange of trust in the Lord, who is Love itself.
When I finally got over my egotistical attitude toward charity, I was able to discover new and stronger relationships with the people around me. Charity permits people to become vulnerable and this vulnerability opens opportunity to build up friendship because it is based on who the people involved are at their core–children of God.
“May the Father or our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our hearts,
that we may know what is the hope
that belongs to his call.” Eph 1:17-18
With this revitalized witness to the coming of the Holy Spirit, may the Spirit once again bring forth life-giving acts of charity. After the deprivations caused by the worldwide pandemic, and especially during this time of rebuilding the world, charity has never been more needed.