Normally I would post my Sunday homily but this week the topic was very localized focusing on our local Catholic Appeal and contributions to the chapel. I doubt if it would interest most of you. But I would like to throw out a few thoughts on the topic of generosity. Point number one is that God can never be outdone in generosity. If you donate a dollar to the Church, that dollar will come back to you many times over. If you volunteer for an hour, you will receive blessings far in excess of the value of your time. So….even in the current “me” society, where so many people think the world revolves around them, there is plenty of motivation to share with others, even if you don’t understand that everything you have is a gift from God.
As a minister, I get very frustrated when people refuse to participate. My current assignment is Saint John Nepomuk Chapel in Saint Louis. In 1896 the church was leveled by a tornado. The schools (yes, they had two) and rectory were also damaged. The next morning the parishioners gathered at their formerly beautiful church and began to rebuild. I’m told that many of the men in the parish took off work for six months to help with the rebuilding. School children helped out by removing the debris from the site.
Saturday evening Saint Louis was hit by some serious storms. My wife and I were having dinner at a restaurant (The Gast Haus) which is just a few blocks from the church. The owner had herded us all into the basement to ride out the storm. As I was waiting for the storm to blow over, I wondered what would happen today if the church were destroyed by this storm. Would all the members turn out the next morning, ready to rebuild? I don’t think so. We’re having a hard time getting people to work for an hour at our church picnic.
I don’t mean for this to reflect badly on any individual. I think it’s just our society. According to author Matthew Kelly, we live in an age of
None of these “isms” is compatible with Catholicism. These attitudes are promoted by secular society, by Hollywood, and by the news media. Briefly (You can get the whole story by reading Matthew’s book Rediscovering Catholicism, which you can get free by clicking the link in the right column.) society encourages us to ask “What’s in it for me?” We’re encouraged that “If it feels good, do it!” And we’re taught to ask “What’s the least I can do?” It’s no wonder our pews are empty, our collections are down, and few people get excited when the government sets out to take away our religious freedom.
I believe that we, as a people of God, can turn these three “isms” in our favor.
“What’s in it for me?” As I said above, God can never be outdone in generosity. When I give back my time, talent, and treasure (which was never really mine in the first place) it will be returned to me many times over.
“If it feels good, do it!” Guess what? It does feel good to contribute. It does feel good to help others. It does feel good to participate.
“What’s the least I can do?” We’re surrounded by people in need. We could help each one. But imagine how much time and money it would take to try to help each one of them. The least you can do is to support the one organization that does help everyone, the Catholic Church. We don’t have to personally feed the hungry. The Church does that. We don’t have to personally take care of the homeless. The Church does that. We don’t have to personally visit the prisons. The Church does that. The least we can do is to support our Church by giving back some of the time, talent, and treasure that has been generously given to us by God.