People probably think I’m nuts.
While shopping at Sam’s, I hear a woman’s voice say “would you like a free sample?”
Without looking around I immediately say “no thank you”.
Then I look up and see that I’m talking to a machine.
I now know it’s a machine. I walk by it every time I’m in the store because it’s over by the Cheerios.
And to this day, when I hear the voice “would you like a free sample?”
I respond automatically “no thank you” as if I’m talking to a person.
And I usually shop while wearing my clerics.
Am I alone with regards to this unusual behavior? Does anyone here talk to the machine?
This machine that dispenses free samples, is it being kind? Is this an act of kindness, even indirectly?
No, it is not. It is a sales pitch. It is an attempt by a company to win customers,
to get people to buy its product.
It is motivated by the hope of financial gain. I get something for nothing but not as an act of kindness.
The way of the Christian is a way of kindness.
God shows us, reveals to us, what is good, what we as believers in Jesus Christ should seek:
“to love kindness” is an essential part of the Christian life.
It is part of our Christian identity. To be kind…is an expression of our faith.
We are kind because God is kind and God summons us to be kind.
We are kind because we understand Jesus’ commands/we understand what the Kingdom of God is about.
We are kind because God gives us the grace to be kind.
In today’s gospel, the disciples weren’t very kind and were taken to task for their lack.
By comparison, Jesus is kind. He is more than willing to bless the children,
to give them his attention even though they are powerless and have no social status…
even though the only return he would gain was a smile on their faces
and their innocent receptivity to his gift.
Kindness is not something we as human beings create.
We share in the kindness of God.
In His divine kindness, God has bestowed upon us free gifts:
the gift of life, the gift of faith, and love, and freedom, the gift of salvation.
And then, like the machine we dispense the kindness of God.
But unlike the machine with its mechanical kindness,
our kindness emerges from a heart that is immersed in God,
emerges from inner communion with the Spirit of God.
The kindness we show emerges out of a life of Christian renunciation and detachment.
We realize we don’t need many of the material things we have as much as we want them.
Because of compassion, pity, sympathy, because of a concern for another’s temporal and eternal welfare,
we chose to help them in their need.
We must remain, however, wary of the illusion of kindness, the mere appearance of kindness…
again, like the machine in Sam’s.
Every act of giving isn’t necessarily an act of kindness.
I can give with strings attached, expecting something in return. I can give selectively.
I can give because it makes me feel good or makes me feel important.
Not all acts of kindness feel good. And some acts of kindness will forever remain secret.
Some acts of kindness require sacrifice.
Today’s prayer: “O Lord, we trust in Your kindness. It is infinite and eternal. Jesus Christ, Your Son, is the epiphany of Your kindness. Fill us with a desire, not only to be habitually kind, but to be heroically kind. Through the prompting of Your Spirit, help us to grow ever more in kindness. Amen!”
7th Week in Ordinary Time
People probably think I’m nuts.