Message: Let's be like Malachi. His hope in the Lords' coming made him determined to do the right thing today.
In today's first reading we hear from the prophet Malachi. If you remember the Geography of Faith, he is writing from the time of Restoration when the Jewish people returned from Babylon to the Promised Land. Malachi gives us a glimpse of the future: the coming of the Lord to burn away evil and bring healing. It's a bit like our Battle Hymn of the Republic - "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
Although Malachi looks forward to the Lord's coming, he does not neglect the present. He shows deep concern for people behavior today. For example, he tells husbands, "let none be faithless to the wife of his youth for I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel."
And Malachi speaks about something we addressed last week - the tithe. He tells people (brace yourself) that they have been robbing God. How can a person rob God? He asks. Well, he says the first fruits belong to God. The people have been robbing God by withholding their tithe. Here are his words:
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse...try me in this, says the Lord of Host: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure?" (Malachi 3:8b-10)
Like Malachi I am convinced that returning first fruits to God brings enormous blessings. Last week I asked you to consider tithing in this way: 5% to the parish and 5% to other charities. You have your pledge cards which I hope you will return this Sunday by placing them in the collection basket.
What about the other 5%? We do ask you to reserve 1% for the Annual Catholic Appeal in May to support Archbishop Sartain and the work of our archdiocese. I have asked you also to consider the people of Peru by supporting the Mary Bloom Center.
And we have a most urgent need before us right now - the suffering of our brothers and sisters in the Philippines. At the end of the Mass some Filipino members of our parish will give a special presentation. Meanwhile, as a conclusion to the General Intercessions, we will say the prayer that Catholic Relief Services sent us. Like I mention in the bulletin, they are a most effective agency in delivering emergency aid.
I know that sometimes we can feel "compassion fatigue" - with so much suffering in our world, our own local community and our families. Fatigue is understandable, but Jesus has a word for us: "By your perseverance you will secure your lives." And St. Paul tells us how he worked day and night "in toil and drudgery." Shortly we will all have time to rest. The Day of the Lord may come sooner than we think.
We will talk more about the Lord's coming - especially as we enter Advent two weeks from today. Let's be like Malachi. His hope in the Lords' coming made him determined to do the right thing today - to place his life in God's hands: time, abilities and finances. And he knows that God is faithful now. "Try me in this, says the Lord of Hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessings without measure?" Amen.
From Archives (33rd Sunday, Year C):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies
Evidence for God's Existence from Modern Physics (MP3 Audio File)
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)
Parish Picture Album
(Pilgrimage to Molokai)
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru
KRA's & SMART Goals (updated November 2013)