First Sunday | The Sunday of Orthodoxy

March 22, 2024

IOCC Chairman of the Board
St. Steven Serbian Orthodox Cathedral
Alhambra, CA

Very often we hear the idea that when we help others we are “giving back,” that we are somehow paying the universe or society for things we have. This approach seems impersonal and transactional. It looks at giving as a zero-sum game in which we give because we have received and by giving back we may receive again. I think of giving differently.

When we give presents or help to our loved ones, the very act of giving and seeing their happy faces brings us happiness. Their smiles and the light in their eyes fill our hearts and lighten our load. St. Maria of Paris reminds us that each person is the very icon of God incarnate. Thus, when we give or sacrifice for others, we are in essence venerating the Lord.

IOCC draws its inspiration from Matthew 25:35–36, 40, which begins, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in … as you did it to one of the least of these, My brethren, you did it to Me.” These verses tell us that when we help others, we are giving a gift to our Lord. We give because it is pleasing to Him. And pleasing our Lord, our greatest Loved One, brings joy.

May your generous donations to IOCC in support of our work bring you joy.