In this week's gospel Jesus says things like, " love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return" and "give, and it will be given to you." Not only that, but he says that "a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get." Taken together, these teachings paint a picture not just of generosity, but of a kind of irrational, economically unsound, fiscally irresponsible way of using money and resources. Not only does he say to give love to those who don't love us, but to give money and not expect to be paid back. Ever!
And not only that, but he says that what we give should be more than what has been asked of us. He describes a measure (read: a portion of something in a container) that is shaken together, pressed down, and overflowing, being given to us. Think of it like when you're trying to fit more and more of something into a container, like flour or rice. You fill it to the top and in order to fit as much in as you can, you shake it side to side and press it down until you can't fit any more. But Jesus does one better, when it is handed to you it is not only shaken together and pressed down, but overflowing! That is the measure we are asked to give and, in return, the one we will receive.
These teachings are all about abundance, and the courage to live so fully into the abundance of God that we will do crazy, irrational, irresponsible things with our resources, emotional, spiritual, and material, towards other and towards ourselves, knowing that we will be taken care of if we take care of one another. This week, pay attention to where you feel this kind of abundance in your life. Where do you feel disconnected from abundance? Who are the people that help you connect with this extreme abundance that Jesus invites us into? Take some time to share with the group.