Put God First

(Homily for Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C)

Bottom line: It is amazing what happens when we put God first.

Once a lady asked a priest to help her with the family budget. It was an unusual request, especially since the priest (like your pastor) was not that good with finances. But the lady was desperate and the priest agreed to do what he could. So they made a list of the family expenses: rent, telephone, utilities, food, clothes, school supplies, medical and dental care, etc., etc. With the limited family income, it seemed like an impossible task. They just could not make ends meet. Perhaps out of frustration, the priest finally said, "What about a tithe?"

"What do you mean?" she asked. "You know," the priest said, "tithe, giving the first ten percent to God." Now, this really seemed outlandish. If they couldn't make things balance with the meager income, how were they going to do it if they took out ten percent from the top? A strange thing happened, however. When they set aside ten percent for God, then worked with the other ninety percent, they began to look at things differently. Some of the priorities changed - and the budget fell into place. It is amazing what happens when we put God in first place.

In today's Old Testament reading we have an impressive example of putting God first. We hear about a woman arrested with her seven sons. The king wanted them to deny their Jewish religion by eating pork. Speaking to her sons in Hebrew, the mother encouraged them to endure torture rather than betray their faith. It must have torn her heart to see the tortures they inflicted on her children, but that woman put God first. She knew that this life is brief and - no matter what we do - none of us can avoid suffering, so she put her trust in God.

Jesus calls you and me to do something similar. Like the mother of those seven sons, he asks us to put God first. And like her, we may not see immediate results. But we do know that if we put God first, things will eventually fall into their right place. Jesus gives us that assurance.

Now, some of you might be thinking, "That is easy enough for Father to say. He does not have the troubles that I do." True enough. Each of us has different struggles. But, this Sunday, I have some encouragement. I have asked a family from our parish to give a testimony on how they work to put God first. I would like to ask you now to warmly welcome ____________________________________.

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Spanish Version

From Archives (32nd Sunday, Year C):

2013: Returning First Fruits
2010: God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
2007: Putting God First
2004: Take Courage
2001: Reasons for Belief in Afterlife

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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Bulletin (Stewardship - Reinventing Yourself; Mark Shea - How to Read Bible; A Tragic Death)

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Philip Pullman's Deceit is Appalling (What you need to know about an upcoming movie)

Patients and Students Helped by Mary Bloom Center

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Evidence for God's Existence from Modern Physics (MP3 Audio File)

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