So every Saturday and Sunday – right after
an incredible homily is given,
the creed is recited,
and the prayers of the faithful are said:
up come the ushers and the baskets come around – more than once, sometimes, on any given Sunday. . .
And when the basket comes to us, we have a free choice: we can choose to give something: a little or a lot —- or we can simply pass the basket on to the next person in the pew. . .
If we choose to give — why do we make that choice??
The simple and practical answer to that question is – the parish, the household of God, has needs and expenses just like your household. . .
The parish has a light bill, and a water bill. We have employees to pay and benefits to give. We have roofs that leak, and air conditioners that break, a mortgage on a house, and grass to mow in the summer and snow to shovel in the winter. And the needs of the household of God go on. . .
But today, I want to give you a more deep and profound reason to give. And if you can wrap your mind – and most especially your heart –around this deep and profound reason to give – it will transform your life.
And so here it is:
We give NOT because there are needs — we give because we have a need to give. . . Let me repeat that: we give NOT because there are needs – but because we have a need to give.
We have that need to give because God has first given to us — -everything we have. And out of gratitude, we have the need to give something back to God.
We have a need to give because God has first given to us — name one thing you have that hasn’t been given to you by God —
Well Father, I worked hard in order to buy my house. . . What did God have to do with that???
Yes you did work hard, and probably scrimped and saved — but who gave you the talents and skills that you used to get your job, that earned you the money, that you used to buy your house?
Father, I worked hard in our relationship and that’s what got my husband to propose to me and marry me. . . what did God have to do with that?
Who created you, and who created him, so that you were able to meet each other, fall in love, and get married – so that you can spend all the days of your life together?
Name one thing you have that hasn’t been given to you by God?
Well Father, I got a pretty good haul of candy on Halloween that was given to me by other people – it wasn’t God who went to the candy store. . .
Who gave those people the talent to have jobs in order to buy that candy – and then gave them the spirit of generosity not to keep that candy all to themselves but to share it with those who came knocking on their doors dressed up as spooks, and goblins — and Patrick Mahomes?
Name one thing you have that hasn’t been given to you by God. . .
So every Saturday and Sunday – the basket comes around and we make a free choice – we can give – a little or a lot – not because there are needs – but because we have the need to give –
because God has generously, abundantly, and indiscriminately showered down his blessings upon us like the dewfall.
The other choice we can make –is simply to pass the basket on to the next person – hopefully ONLY because we have given out of our need to give — ON LINE! Which by the way, is a great way to consistently give!
But hopefully we don’t pass the basket on because we don’t realize how blessed we are.
But Father, there are things going on in the Church that I don’t like or approve of – why should I give to the church? A simple response to that could be —-that we don’t stop giving to Jesus – because of Judas!
There has always been, and dare I say – always will be – -things that go on in the Church that we don’t like or approve of —- and that’s because the Church is not made up of angels – but of humans – and humans make mistakes, and humans — sin…
We don’t stop giving to Jesus – because of Judas.
S0 Jesus — sat down opposite the temple treasury and observed how a poor widow came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. . .
No one forced her to do it.
No one told her how big the bills to be paid at the Temple were.
No one even told her — her contribution would be tax deductible!
And she did not withhold her contribution because there were some corrupt scribes and Pharisees who liked going around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. >>
Jesus goes so far as to call them – hypocrites in other parts of the Gospel. . .
No, this poor widow gave – because she had a need to give. And she gave not out of her abundance – but out of her scarcity – because she trusted that the God who had been so good to her in the past — would continue to be good to her in the days to come.
She gave – and we need to give – not just because there are needs – but because we have a need to give.
My sisters and brothers – if we can wrap our heads – and most especially our hearts – around this gospel teaching – then our lives will be totally transformed.
Because once we realize how blessed we are – our hearts are changed —- and once our hearts are changed — and we’re not just going through the motions —-
then our hands will easily let go — instead of grabbing and grasping and taking —- all they can get.