Lenten Reflection | Almsgiving

February 21, 2021

Lenten Reflection | First Week of Lent

Dad and I went to a coffee shop after fishing together. The waitress left the check on the counter. Both Dad and I lunged for it and Dad grabbed it first saying, “I’ll get it.” So he got up and went to the cash register to pay. After he left, I decided to leave the tip. I dug out my wallet to find a few one-dollar bills. There were none so I took out a five and left it on the counter, thinking how this was going to be a very generous tip. I got into the truck and waited for Dad. When he got in he said, “I handed her five dollars for a tip, do you think that was too much?” I said, “No, I don’t think five dollars is too much.”

This is an example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. When the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, you end up with double. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us that when we give alms, we are not to let our left hand know what the right hand is doing. Now we know what that means. When we give, make it double. The left hand gives and then the right hand gives. The right hand would not give if it knew the left hand already gave. Therefore, the biblical definition of almsgiving means to double the giving. That is, double our prayers, and double our generosity, double our good works–a great Lenten practice.

The story is not over. Dad and I returned to the coffee shop a few weeks later. We sat down and immediately the same waitress came over with two cups of coffee and a big smile and exclaimed in delight, “Hello gentleman, it is good to see you again.” I can tell you this, we got really good service. So remember, when you give double, you may feel the loss, but you are going to make God really happy. And when God is happy, you will be happy.

By: Fr. Peter Grover, OMV
Saint John's Seminary - Professor