‘Birthdays are Lovely’
By the Most Rev. John B. Brungardt
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Dodge City
Editor’s Note: Following is the fifth in Bishop Brungardt’s series on Stewardship.
Share your cookie with your sister. Share your toys with your friends. We share our time, one of our most precious gifts, with our loved ones.
This is the fifth article in our series on the Spirituality of Stewardship: the grateful response of a Christian disciple who recognizes and receives God’s gifts and shares these gifts in love of God and neighbor. Let’s look at: “shares these gifts.” I repeat my favorite story about sharing: “Birthdays are Lovely” (author unknown). Polly, soon to be nine years old, was befriended by elderly Miss Cary. When Miss Cary asked Polly’s mom when the child’s birthday was, Polly asked, “What’s a birthday?” You see, Polly’s family was so busy working, and so poor, that they didn’t even celebrate birthdays! So Miss Cary gave Polly nine silver quarters to purchase birthday presents (which was a lot of money for a little girl in those days!). Polly returned from the store with many gifts, and excitedly gave presents to mom, dad, brothers, sisters, Grandma and Miss Cary! Miss Cary asked her: “But what have you bought for your birthday present?” Polly replied: “These are all my presents. Presents are something we give away, aren’t they?”
Yes, gifts are for sharing. Our loving Lord gives us countless gifts. We recognize and received these bountiful gifts. We Christian disciples are grateful for these divine presents. But we don’t want to stop there, we don’t want to be selfish, we don’t want to hold these gifts to ourselves. We are called to share our gifts. We share our time, abilities, and alms. We give our hospitality to a new parishioner. We share our teaching gifts with students in catechism class. We offer our prayers to our Lord during Holy Mass at our parish. We share our talents in serving the ill in the nursing home, or the poor at a thrift shop.
Gifts are something we give away, aren’t they? Let us share our gifts. Let us generously be hospitable and prayerful, and let us compassionately form and serve others in the way of the Lord. Jesus shared his life with us, since He loves us more than we can ask or imagine!