"Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" (Matthew 25:37-40, NLT)

When I was young I was great at math. I had started playing cards with my Mom, Dad, Nana, and brothers when I was only four years old. All of those pleasant evenings at the kitchen table playing "Knock" and "Rummy" had made me very good at addition and subtraction. It gave me a head start over the other first graders. I was soon at the top of my math class and I stayed there until high school when a thing known as Algebra both kicked my butt and befuddled my mind.

After I was grown up, however, I was introduced to an even more complicated form of math: "God's Math". It was quite different from any math I had ever known and I had a terrible time learning it. It was based on the truth that "It is in giving that we receive."

I am sorry to say that I fought learning this for a long time. I hoarded my money and spent it only on my family and myself. I never gave a dime to charity and ended up feeling poor, miserable, isolated and alone. This finally changed one day at the local grocery store. There was a box there for donations to the local food pantry. I had already bought my family's weekly groceries and was about to check out when something stirred in me. I picked up another big bag of rice and put it in my cart. As I was walking out the door I quietly dropped it in the food pantry box. I left the store feeling like the richest person in the world. I felt joyous, connected, at one with God and everyone else. My wallet was a little lighter but my heart so much fuller. It was the beginning of a wonderful journey of learning about love and giving that goes on to this day.

If you want to truly live your life here you have to do God's math. You can't live just for yourself. You have to give of yourself. You can't just love yourself. You have to love others as yourself. Give from your heart then. Give your goods. Give your talents. Live your life with love. If you do then you will receive so much more from life and from God.

Joseph J. Mazzella