I have experienced that whether it is time, talent or treasure, the more I share the more the Lord give me back. When I was just a teenager, about fifteen years old, I was called to serve my local Catholic Church in Venezuela. I remember that I biked every time to Church volunteering for retreats and ministries. When I was between sixteen and eighteen I started considering the priesthood, but I was not serious. I said to myself: I am too young for this; I am giving already my time to the Church.
At that time, fellow parishioners asked me to share also what I knew: my talents. I said to them: “Look, I do not know many things but baking bread”. My parents had a family owned bakery and I worked there for almost four years (ask me how to bake bread, at this point in my life, I do not even remember the measures I used to prepare bread, I can give a try though). By then, there was the first community of the Neocatechumenal Way that was starting in my parish. I joined them. They insisted that I should bake the unleavened bread for the Eucharist. (for those who do not know the Neocatechumenal Way you can find more information here: http://theneocatechumenalway.net/ ) This ministry in the Church has a big piece of unleavened bread that is broken during Communion time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i134S9DGWTk
Yes, the Neocatechumenal Way is a Catholic charism like the Charismatic Renewal or Legion of Mary, just to name a few. I committed to baking this bread for more than three years until I decided to enter the seminary. At the age of twenty, I give my first try at the seminary; I was willing to give my treasure: my life. But all of the sudden, In 2002, when I was falling in love with my vocation, I was kicked out of the seminary. I did not understand God’s plan for me until the day I was ordained as a priest (eventually, in 2009, I joined the seminary again in our Diocese of San Bernardino after six years out). When I was prostrated before the altar the day of my ordination all my questions were answered. I had a group of people who supported me spiritually and financially to get through fourteen years of formation. Most of the time, when I needed something, the Lord provided. I do not know how to explain it but friends and benefactors were helping me with the three things I gave to the Lord and His People: time, talent and treasure. I cannot complain because what I have received, is more than I have given.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan could be a good example to use the three Ts: Time, Talent, and Treasure (Luke 10:25-37). He gave his time to help the man, he used his talents to tend to the man’s wounds and he gave his money (treasure) to pay for the man’s lodging. For me, the treasure is not the money for me is human life and give this life for the Lord is the best treasure to give. Precisely is what the martyrs of the Church gave feeling victorious because they found the pearl and gave up their lives for that treasure (the pearl: Jesus and his message).
I am also a witness of people in my parish who is making the difference. For example last year thousands of jackets were given away to the homeless thanks to the Jacket Drive. It has been for me a great example of giving time, talent, treasure and the warm love of the Lord in the midst of the cold, the rain and this selfish and individualistic society. This initiative helped me to understand that every one of us can make possible a change in our families, neighborhoods, and society.
Are you ready to give more? If your answer is “yes” you will be willing to receive more…