Feb 17: "I will pour out for you blessing without measure."
Fr. Steve gives thanks to God for the blessing He is pouring out on our parish. While Mass-attendance in general has declined in the diocese over the last ten years (-22%), in our parish it has increased by 21%. God is blessing us, especially in the various ministries: the healing ministry, the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the sense of community as we meet after Mass in Mercy Hall, the men’s breakfasts, Lumen Veritatis and many other initiatives. We will also be beginning a new ministry to high-school girls and next year we will hold a women’s retreat.
In the reading today from Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” Fr. Steve encourages everyone to give generously so that we can expand our ministries, including providing Catholic education to children of families for free and developing a ministry to the poor.
Fr. Steve exhorts us to make choices about our money in such a way as to make the Lord’s work a priority expense. We should tithe (give 10%) our money so that we can receive the blessing that the Lord has for us.
Let us not accumulate money and possessions. On judgment day we will come to regret our riches. All of us are rich in one way or another, compared to previous centuries and foreign lands. God has given us riches to use to get to heaven and help others get to heaven. Almsgiving atones for sins.
In Luke 12: The rich fool, who pulled down his barns to build bigger ones. ‘You fool," Jesus says, "this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Fr. Steve provides statistics that show that Catholics are the worst-performing Christians in terms of tithing. The average Catholic gives 1.5%, in our church the average is about 3%.
Malachi 3: God says: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, and see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour down upon you blessing without measure!” God loves a cheerful giver!
We need to pray and ask the Lord what we should give. Our salvation may depend on it. The Lord has blessed us with financial resources so that we can use it for his kingdom. It is not our money and we have a responsibility contribute to the ministry of spreading the good news of his kingdom.
How can we increase what we are giving?