«

»

Fr. Tim’s Homily for October 1, 2017

image26th Sunday in Ordinary Time-A

Respect Life Sunday

Weekend One: Introduction to Stewardship Renewal

 

Ezekiel 18: 25-28 

Philippians 2:1-11 

Matthew 21: 28-32

 

 

Jesus loved to tell stories – parables – especially when the ending was not what His audience was expecting.  And today’s is a case in point.  He begins the parable by saying, “A man had two sons…”  And as soon as we hear that there are two kids involved, we know we are in for some high drama!

The man said to his first son, “Go out and work in my vineyard today.”  That first son answered, “I will not!”  But later he changed his mind and went.

He said to his second son, “Go out and work in my vineyard today,” and the second son answered, [like Eddie Haskell],“Yes, sir!”  But he never went.

Then Jesus asks, “Which of those two sons did his father’s will?”  The first son did – who at first had refused but later changed his mind and went.  The second son had agreed to go, but never showed up.  Neither gave the ideal response.

And so someone aptly entitled this parable:  “The Better of Two Bad Boys.”

Now, any of you who are parents know the climate of this parable:  when you say to your kids in your sweetest, most endearing tone of voice – the one that you almost always use at home – “Oh my dear one, would you kindly clean your room?”  Or, “Would you find it in your heart to help with the dishes?”  Or, “If you wouldn’t mind, would you please get busy with your homework?”  And sometimes “the doing requested” just doesn’t get done, right?

And young people:  you know how to block what your parents want done – it’s called “the stall tactic.”  “Oh yes, I’d be delighted to do that – but in fifteen minutes” or “as soon as this show is over.”  Right?  And sometimes “the doing requested” just doesn’t get done.

But no matter what our age or circumstances, you and I can find ourselves in this parable.

C.S. Lewis gives us this line:  “God doesn’t love us because we are good, but God will make us good because He loves us.”  This means that we are not good by our own power.  It is the other way around.  God enables us to be good.  God gives us the grace of conversion to change our minds and do what He asks.  “God doesn’t love us because we are good, but God will make us good because He loves us.”

We find ourselves, I believe, in this parable.  Sometimes we do what God asks us to do right away.  But there are other times when we say “no” to God, and then later change our minds and say “yes.”  God gives us the grace to come back and follow through.

“God doesn’t love us because we are good, but God will make us good because He loves us.”

On this Respect Life Sunday, and every day of the year, we proclaim the value of every human life from the moment life begins at conception until the moment of natural death, and all the time in between.  And we proclaim the sacredness and beauty of the family in God’s plan.

When we were baptized, we became the adopted children of God – His beloved daughters and sons.  And we do not live in isolation.  We are a part of God’s own family, the Church, and we all have a valuable part to play.

This is the link with stewardship as a way of life.  Stewardship is the way that we cherish and reverence God’s gift of human life:  my own life and every human life.  For God is the author of life.

As a steward of God’s bountiful blessings, I acknowledge that all that I have is a gift from God:  my very life itself, my time, my talents and my treasure.  God wants me to receive these gifts from Him gratefully, to develop them with an increase and, because of my gratitude, to share them generously, so that each person gives as they have been blessed and each person receives as they need.

Stewardship as a way of life is all about becoming even better disciples of Jesus:  being ready to say “yes” to Him and to follow through.

This week you will be receiving a stewardship packet in the mail.  It contains:  (1) a letter from me;   (2) an explanation of our annual stewardship renewal in Saint Joseph and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parishes;  (3) a “Ministry Catalog” which describes each of the current ministries in our parishes as well as a contact person;  all ministries are available for members of both of our parishes to participate in;  (4) and a “2017 Commitment Card” specially marked for each parish that enables each household to check off ministry involvements that they would like to renew for another year or that they would like to join for one year.

If your stewardship packet does not arrive this week, please let us know in the parish offices because we want every household to have one.

Next weekend, 7-8 October, at all of the Masses I will offer a very short homily and it will be followed by a fellow parishioner who will give a witness talk about how they are implementing stewardship more fully in their personal lives.

After all of the Masses next weekend you are invited and encouraged to come to our Ministries Fair which will be hosted in Saint Joseph Social Hall.  Our ministry leaders will be there to answer questions you might have after looking through your Ministry Catalog.  There will be no sign-ups at the Ministry Fair, no pressure to join.  Just a chance to find out more about ministries here in our parishes.

There will also be food and fellowship for us all.

The following weekend, 14-15 October, is our annual Commitment Sunday.  You are asked to bring your completed commitment cards to Mass two weeks from now with your one-year commitments of time, talent and treasure.  And we will place them in the Offertory basket together.

Jesus told us today a parable about “The Better of Two Bad Boys.”

Stewardship as a way of life is all about becoming even better disciples of Jesus each day and being ready to say “yes” to Him and to follow through.

I would ask you today to look into your own heart during this Mass.  Is there any aspect of your living right now where you are saying “no” to God or engaging in a “stall tactic” towards His will?

If so, God is giving us the opportunity to think it over and, with His grace, to turn that “no” into a “yes” – and to follow through.

“God doesn’t love us because we are good, but God will make us good because He loves us.”

And THAT is our hope and our prayer.