Friday, December 3, 2010

The One Gift That's Perfectly Appropriate to Re-gift!

"Should I or shouldn't I?" I debated to myself as I contemplated re-gifting a small, ceramic, chia-pet looking terra-cotta soldier statue. Without too much hesitation I came down on the side of "I should!" And I stuffed what was probably the world's most useless and awful gift into a box, filled it with packing peanuts, and sent it to a dearly beloved community member....who had RE-GIFTED me with this awful peace of pathetic pottery some years before by the way! Since this was a gag gift, I'm hoping the normal prohibition against re-gifting can be forgiven! (If not I simply added on a little more purgatory time!)

With the economy as sluggish as it is and the unemployment rate up around 9.8 %, "re-gifting" will probably be more the norm than the exception this Christmas season! Interestingly enough, Today's Gospel from Mass illustrates how "re-gifting" is at the very heart of what it means to believe in and follow Christ. Jesus tells his disciples as he sends them out to carry on his ministry, "without cost you have received, without cost you are to give." In essence, Jesus is telling his followers that they are to "re-gift" the depth of grace and communion with God that they have experienced in himself. The gift of God is so powerful and potent that it is meant to be free flowing: moving from one person to another without being held on to as a personal possession. The reason why it needn't be "held on to" is because 1) God intends that the gifts he gives be freely and fully shared so that there be enough for all (because ALL persons are God's beloved) and 2) God is an illimitable, fountain fullness of grace and gift - meaning, there's "always more where that came from!"

Last night I watched an NBC Dateline special on the actor George Clooney's mission to stop war from breaking out in Sudan. In January, the Southern part of the country will vote on a referendum to secede from the oppressive and genocidal Northern regime of President Al-Bashir (who has been indicted by the UN for genocide). With 80% of the oil reserves of Sudan in the South, the North obviously doesn't want this to happen and is already massing troops and tanks along the border. Clooney has gone to great lengths and will continue going to great lengths, putting himself in harms way to stop the potential slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent persons should war break out in January. When Ann Curry brought the Dateline interview to a close with Clooney, his final words were, "I've been lucky. I believe that luck is to be shared, especially with those who have none." This is precisely what re-gifting is all about! Pat, TOR