Barter is a system of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.
This type of exchange was relied upon by early civilizations.
Goods were exchanged for food, tea, weapons, and spices.
• The barter system requires the giving of a good (product), to receive an equivalent good.
• It is a system which involves the dimension of providing and obtaining, offering and receiving.
The Gospel of the Day calls for a similar barter system…on a Divine realm though…
• Giving to God and obtaining His graces and favours.
• Offering to God and receiving His blessings and mercy.
The Lord, continuing His teachings on a practical Christian life, exhorts, “…give and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give, is the measure you get back” (Lk 6:38)
Jesus brings a very concrete example from the market scene, to drive home his point of generously giving.
The context of Jesus is the market in Israel, the middle-east part of the world.
As in many places today, this area witnessed markets that had buyers and sellers engaged in bargaining and negotiating over prices, quality and the amount of things and goods.
There would be many of the open-air markets, where the farmers would bring their grain—wheat, corn, barley—and spread it on a mat on the ground.
Potential customers would examine the grain, make an offer, and the bargaining would start….
When a price was finally set, the customer would offer his container—usually a large bowl or pot or an open vessel—and the seller would use a scoop (measuring spoon) to fill the container.
There would be some interesting steps in this process of measuring the grain for a customer and which Jesus quotes in His approach to giving:
• First, the seller would fill the container to the top.
• Secondly, he would press the grain down and fill some more.
• Thirdly, he would shake the container so the grain would settle and then fill in some more.
• Finally, he would fill the container until it overflowed!
The contents of this overflowing container would then be transferred to a pouch or a bag so that the buyer could bring home the contents from the market.
Well, this process could sound a bit strange and weird to us in the modern world.
• We live in times, when contents are sold by the weight, and not the volume..
• We live in times, when manipulations are done to give as less as possible…
But this is where, Jesus, bringing in the example of the market, invites generosity in giving…
• Our giving ought to be measured not by weight, but by volume…and that refers to a far-greater amount of giving!
• Our giving ought to, not be curtailed down by clever manipulations…rather is to be done very generously and lavishly!
St Paul in 2 Cor 9:6 would say, “Whoever sows sparingly, will also reap sparingly; whoever reaps bountifully will also reap bountifully”
Our giving ought not to be a calculated effort…rather should be a overflow from the heart!
When we engage is such a lavish and generous giving, God too will shower His abundance, in a similar and much better fashion!
“For the measure you give, will be the measure you get back” (Lk 6:38)
Of course, that is not to say that we are limiting God’s power of giving…
>> God surely showers His gifts lavishly!
>> God surely pours His blessings overwhelmingly!
But the Lord invites us to be involved in a Divine Barter System…
• Give to God, who deserves all, so that we may be worthy to receive His blessings.
• Give to God, who is worthy of all, so that we may be blessed to receive His graces.
In the Divine barter system, the advantage is that, we get much more than what we give… we obtain far greater than what we offer!
God’s giving is not to be seen just from material or physical aspects…
>> In fact, that would just be a very limited and low level of understanding.
God’s gifts are to be understood more from a spiritual perspective:
… Gift of His mercy to live a life in union with Him.
… Gift of His grace to be faithful and more committed.
… Gift of His love to be better human beings and be more charitable.
… Gift of His salvation to enjoy eternal bliss and happiness with Him .
All these gifts will be surely lavished and given… “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured out into our laps!”
The greatest exchange – the Divine barter system – is seen and experienced in the Holy Eucharist…
… at every Holy Mass.
Let us give ourselves entirely to the Lord… especially at Holy Mass and through the Mass, at all times of the day… to all persons in our life.
Then, in the words of Fulton Sheen, we will be graced to hear the words of the Divine Lord telling us…
• You give me your humanity, and I will give you my Divinity!
• You give me your time, and I will give you My eternity!
• You give me your broken heart, and I will give you Love!
• You give me your nothingness, and I will give you My all!
God bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “ Frequently give up some of your property by giving it with a generous heart to the poor
>> It is true that God will repay us, not only in the next world…
… but even in this!”