Message: When we place our lives - and possessions - in God's hand, he does take care of us. He wants for us - abundance.
A few weeks ago someone gave me a "Dennis the Menace" cartoon. It shows Dennis in church between his mom and dad. The collection basket is in front of Dennis and he holds the family envelope. Dennis looks at his dad and says, "Can we get a refund if the sermon isn't that good?" (smile)
Well, Dennis does illustrate one approach to giving. We might call it the "consumer approach." If I get what I want, I will pay for it. Now, it's OK to be a consumer - and in our society all of us learn to be smart consumers.
Jesus, however, wants us to take a step. He wants us to move from being consumers to being disciples. A disciple gives not so he can get something in return. He gives because Jesus has given everything.
If you remember, that is the theme of this homily series: God does not want some from you. He wants something for you. So far we have seen two things God wants for us.
First, for us he wants faith. Faith makes possible a relationship with Jesus. Some people think faith is irrational. Not so! Perhaps you have seen Bishop Bob Barron's videos on the "Mystery of God." He shows how the Bible, the created world and the human heart provide evidence for God's existence. Faith does not mean to believe without evidence. Because of the evidence God gives, we trust in him - even in times of darkness. Faith means to trust God in good times and in bad. It's like how we trust a friend because he shown himself worthy of trust. If we can trust, how much more should we trust God. That trust, that faith, enables us to have a lived relationship with Jesus. That the great gift God wants for you and for me.
Secondly, by faith we not only have a lived relationship with Jesus, but one that endures into eternity. As we saw last week, God wants that eternal Communion for you and for me. That Communion will not be boring or awkward. You won't have to worry about people looking at you...because all of us together will focus on one person - Jesus. We will have joy and peace beyond imagining.
Along with faith and communion, there's a third thing God wants for you. It's something immediate and concrete. We see it in today's first reading. During a time of famine, the Prophet Elijah encounters a widow and her son, on the brink of starvation. The prophet makes an astonishing request. "Please bring me something to eat." She gives him her last bit of food. She and her son do not die. Instead God provides abundantly for them. What's the point? If we trust God, like that widow, he will give us abundance.
That's the third thing God wants for you - abundance! In the Gospel Jesus praises a widow who gives two small coins - all she has to live on. We don't know what subsequently happens to her. We can be confident that God cares for her, like he does for the widow and her son in the Old Testament.
God has given us everything. In Jesus he gives us more than we can ask for or imagine. When we acknowledge that, when we place our lives - and possessions - in God's hand, he does take care of us. He wants for us - abundance. Faith, communion and abundance. In the coming weeks we will see two more things God wants for us. Once again, they might surprise.
Our God is a God of surprises: "The fatherless and widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he twarts. The Lord shall reign forever." Amen.
Plan for this series:
From Archives (All Saints Homilies):
Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
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Fr. Brad's Homilies
Fr. Jim's Homilies
Fr. Michael White's Homilies ("messages")
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru