’s always nice when the Holy Spirit provides us with exactly what we need to hear at the right moment – and the Gospel today is most certainly spot on, especially when it comes to the subject of Sacrificial Giving.
That poor widow woman in the Gospel reminds me of one of our parishioners that I want to tell you about today. This parishioner has been in a nursing home for quite a while, and honestly they don’t really have anything in the eyes of this world. But every couple months I will get a letter in the mail from them, and the jist of the letter always goes like this – Father Matt, I love Jesus. I love our Blessed Mother. I love my parish. I really can’t do anything to help there anymore, but I have enclosed some money for you that I won at bingo this month. And in the envelope are usually 2 one dollar bills. And every time I get that from them, I am almost brought to tears – cause they have nothing. Nothing. And when they win 2 bucks at nursing home bingo, what do they do with it? They give it to their Church.
You and I need to recommit ourselves to living the Gospel around here – and a major part of that is recommitting ourselves to good stewardship – to using our time, our talent, and yes our treasure for the good of our Parish.
Now I know – there are no shortage of reasons why you may not want to give your money to the Church – reasons why you may want to protest and withhold your financial support. Justified anger over the recent scandal; justified anger at the Diocese, the Bishop, your pastor – all of it is understandable. But faith requires something more, from all of us.
This is our parish. The only way we can operate and live and celebrate the Gospel here in this place, is through your financial support. I hate talking about money – I’m pretty sure you know that – but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to talk about it, because it is a necessary part of how we are called to be Catholic here in this holy place.
Cutting costs around here as we are doing or creative fundraising, as we are trying, I don’t believe those are the things that will ultimately save us from our financial woes. Rather, what I do believe we are called to do is to dig deep and channel that widow woman, to follow the example of one of our own – to give not from our surplus wealth, but from our poverty – to give sacrificially. That will mean different things to each of us – but it needs to mean something to all of us. We all have to do our part, if we love this place - If we want this parish to continue for years to come – because there is only one logical conclusion if we continually are not able to pay our bills. And that is not the conclusion that any of us wants.
None of that is easy – I know. But God doesn’t call us to what’s easy. He calls us to what will make us holy – and yes, this is a part of that path. To trust that the Lord will never be outdone in generosity, that He will never allow our jar to go empty, if only we would trust in Him. Take it to prayer. And pray for the grace to act on it. God help us all. +