Not Only Acts of Generosity

(September 25, 2022)

Bottom line: Revelation not only encourages us to acts of generosity, but it enables us to become men and women who act generously.

Today's reading speak about care for the poor. We hear Amos condemn those who live luxurious lives while the world around them is falling apart. And we hear Jesus' powerful parable about Lazarus and the rich man.

We have addressed care for the poor in past homilies and have invited you to take practical steps such as supporting Catholic Relief Service currently helping victims of Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. We support the Catholic Community Services, Mary Bloom Center, Marcando la Diferencia, not to mention our own parish St. Vincent de Paul and Knights of Columbus. What I would like to address today is not so much acts of generosity but the kind of person who acts generously.

St. Paul says "you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness." Righteousness means acting justly, giving each person their due. For example we owe a child education, good example and gentleness. Husband owe love to their wives and vice versa. Justice means treating our neighbors with patience and gentleness. Justice means giving to God what is due to God: gratitude, worship, trust. To God we owe devotion and faith. We should each develop a routine of prayer in the morning and evening. Word on Fire has a monthly book for Liturgy of Hours with morning, evening and night prayer. Some of you have even started joining me online for Compline, that is, night prayer.

We should make Sunday a day devoted to the Lord. It could begin with Saturday evening Mass. On Sunday we have Faith Formation between the two Masses, that is, 9:15 to 10:15 am. It's not just for children, youth and parents but for all ages, like Generations of Faith. Faith Formation begins next Sunday. Today we are addressing one of the biggest challenges - the proper use of cell phones.

This ties in with next verse: "Compete well for the faith. Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called..." Another translation says "Fight the good fight of faith." Who are we fighting? For some people the enemy is MAGA Republicans, for others liberals. They are wrong. The enemy is Satan. St. Peter says, "stay sober and alert, for your opponent the devil prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour." The devil has powerful tools to rob us of sobriety: drugs, overconsumption of alcohol. Amos describes people drinking wine from bowls. The devil can take something good like wine and use it for destruction. We can say something similar about cell phones. This Sunday we are working on guidelines for parents regarding children's use of cell phones.

We are doing this for a purpose. To help our young people know God. At the conclusion of the reading, Paul gives a description of God: "the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, and whom no human being has seen or can see." In the bulletin I said something about the weekend Fr. Jim and I spent at St. Augustine by the Sea in Lincoln City. Honolulu has a church by the same name. They have mosaics depicting Augustine walking on the seashore puzzling about the mystery of God. He sees a boy who has dug a hole in the sand. With his bucket he goes out to the waves and brings back water to dump into the hole. Augustine smiles when the boy tells him his is trying to fill the hole with the entire ocean. The boy smiles back and says, "neither can you fit the mystery of God in your mind."

We refer to God as the Supreme Being, but he is not a being like a mountain or a galaxy. Bishop Robert Barron explains how St. Thomas Aquinas called God Being Itself, Ipsum Esse, the Act of Being. God lives in unapproachable light. God alone has immortality. The angels live forever, but like us there was a time when they, like us, did not exist. God has no beginning. It's possible for the human mind to discover that God exists. The great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, observed that everything that exists has a cause. You and I came to being on account of our parents and so on back to the first humans and then back to the beginning of life on this planet and to the primordial explosion of light or energy. The Bible describes the first day God saying "let there be light and there was light." Everything has a cause but Aristotle reasons there had to be an uncaused cause. So we can come to know that God exists - but what he is, well that's like trying pour the ocean into a hole in the sand.

Thanks be God, he chose to reveal himself. That's what we will be studying in our Faith Formation, beginning with three lessons on Revelation itself. As we will see, Revelation not only encourages acts of generosity, but enables us to become men and women who act generously.

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From Archives (Homilies for Twenty-Sixth Sunday, Year C): Man with Boots Laced (Audio homily for 26th Sunday, Year C 2016)

Geography of Faith: Part 3 (Audio homily for 26th Sunday, Year C 2013)

From Archives (Homilies for Twenty-Sixth Sunday, Year C):

2019: They Have Moses and the Prophets
2016: Boots Laced Week 2: High Stakes
2013: Geography of Faith: The Threat of Exile
2010: The Choice: Heaven or Hell
2007: Why Was the Rich Man Condemned?
2004: He Dined Sumptuously
2001: An Eternally Unbridgeable Chasm
1998: The Abyss Between Heaven and Hell

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album

(current)

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

Home

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

And don't miss Catholic Liturgy & Homily Prep

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album

(current)

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru

Home