Luke 3: 7 - 14
“The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”
We are familiar with words like chapel and chaplain with reference to a place and a person, but did you know that the words find their roots in a Latin word cappa? A cappa is a cape which is very often part of ecclesiastical or academic garb. The connection is with St Martin of Tours. The story goes that St Martin was a Roman solider who converted to christianity after an encounter with a beggar at the gate of the city of Amiens in France. The man was half naked and so Martin took his cloak, cut it in two and gave half to the man who had nothing. The change came for Martin when that night in a dream the beggar revealed himself as Christ. It was at this point that he gave up the army and gave himself to the service of God.
This passage from Luke and the legend of St Martin remind us of what it means to give and how practical giving can be. We are called to share the Gospel and also to live the faith. We are called to live the faith in the way that John mentions here and that Jesus consistently taught and that is by looking for the opportunities that present themselves to us in life. These opportunities will vary from the most spiritual through to the most practical: from the listening ear to the doing something tangible to make a difference in the life of another.
St Martin didn’t hesitate when he saw someone in need. When he encountered the man he knew what he had to do to make a difference. How prepared are we to put our faith into action to make a difference in a world where many go without? We have so much to share with others: time to stop, time to listen to their stories and time to make a difference in what practical and other gifts we can offer. It is easy to walk buy when busy or unsure what to do, but is it what we see in the Gospels?
The crowds asked of John what they might do after he challenged them in the strongest of terms. The answer was clear and that was to live lives that sought to give what they had and not take what didn’t belong to them. The emphasis here is on giving as we live the faith in a helpful and affirming way.
- In what ways has God been generous in giving to you? How might you repay that in your giving to him and others? What do you have to give?
God, the giver of every good and perfect gift,
as we have known your generosity help us to repay it
in our generosity to each other.
Help us to share what we have and who we are with family,
friends and neighbours alike.
In the name of Jesus