Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus declares the value of almsgiving: “As to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.”
Almsgiving is valuable because we’re members of a Mystical Body—we’re implicated in each other. I can never say that your suffering is not mine or that your neediness is not mine. All of us are co-implicated. We’re responsible for each other, and giving alms is a very concrete way to acknowledge that. When we share gifts or charity with those in need, we’re acknowledging the fact that we’re not in this alone, that the things that we own are meant for others. Almsgiving is also tied to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which every Catholic is obligated to practice every day.
Numerous spiritual masters have witnessed that belief in God is strengthened not so much from intellectual effort as from moral action. When a man asked the English Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins what he must do in order to believe, Hopkins replied, “Give alms.” As you love through tangible acts, you will come to believe more deeply and to enter more fully into friendship with God.