Feast Of The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
We are all creatures of habit. We get used to doing things a certain way, and we just go on doing it that way without thinking about it. This can serve an important purpose, i.e., after carefully making a certain decision we can stick with it without wasting time second-guessing or reinventing the wheel every day. But even then it’s a good idea to reassess our choices, from time to time, lest we become unwitting slaves of outdated habits.
One thing that can easily become a habit is the way we contribute to the parish’s weekly offertory. It’s easy to fall into the habit of giving a certain amount every week, year after year, without ever stopping to reassess that amount. But frequent reassessment is important. For example, over time your own ability to donate may increase or decrease: maybe you’ve been giving $5 a week since the kids were little, even though they’ve all grown up, and so has your salary. Or maybe the needs of your family and/or the parish have changed. Or maybe you’ve grown in your understanding/appreciation of God’s generosity, or of the importance of supporting your parish family, or of the greater purpose God has for the gifts he’s given you.
So over the next few weeks, through the mail and at various Sunday Masses, I will be asking you to prayerfully reconsider the amount of support you give to our parish, and to commit to a certain level of support going forward. That level will be entirely up to you—I will try to offer some guidance for those interested, but your gift is entirely, 100%, up to you.
I have to laugh as I do this today, as I read today’s Gospel, the story of Jesus driving the moneychangers from the Temple. This “coincidence” is clearly God’s sense of humor: I swear, this very text rings in my ears whenever I think about asking you for money for any reason. I am keenly aware that money can easily corrupt us—that parishes and pastors can get so caught up in bringing in more and more money that they become distracted from serving Christ and proclaiming the fullness of the Gospel. As St. John reminds us, it was Judas who kept the purse for Jesus. So every time I ask you to contribute to one of the many good causes we support, there’s a voice in my head saying, “remember the moneychangers….”
As a result, while I have asked you pointedly many times to give to special collections, from the BLA to the ECHO coat drive, I have very seldom even mentioned the offertory collections. In fact, it’s been seven years since St. Raymond’s has had an offertory appeal, one of the very few parishes in the Diocese that’s gone that long without one, as I’m often reminded by the Diocesan finance folks.
So, about the “moneychangers”…They were running an actual for-profit business in the temple. We are not—we’re running a parish, part of the family of God. And just as your family needs money to survive and flourish, so does our parish family. Remember, even as Jesus warned against the corrupting influence of money (Mt. 6:24), He also paid the Temple tax (Mt. 17:24ff), and had donors who provided for His fiscal needs (Lk. 8:3).
So let’s not love money—whether it’s in your pockets and bank accounts, or in the parish collection baskets. But rather let us recognize 1) all the many good things God has given each of us, 2) that we should be grateful for those gifts, and 3) that He has given them to be used for good purposes—His purposes. The first of these good purposes, for most of you, is providing for the wellbeing of your families. Now I ask you to think about the good purpose of providing for the wellbeing of your parish family.
Please pray about all this as you think about this appeal over the next few weeks. Pray the Rosary, at Mass, over Scripture, at adoration, at home as a family…. Pray sincerely and devoutly, asking the Lord and the Blessed Mother to guide you. And then give as you choose.
+ + + + +
Your Generosity to the Poor. Speaking of special collections, thanks to all who contributed to the Food Drive for Catholic Charities on October 25/26: an amazing 1,241.03 lbs. (plus $200.00 cash) was collected, well over last year’s 723 lbs. Thanks also to those who donated to last weekend’s Winter Coat Collection for ECHO. We collected 193 coats, almost all of which were in excellent condition. A special thanks to parishioner Lynn O’Connor for coordinating this and all our activities with ECHO.
Filipino Archbishop Here This Sunday. I remind you that retired Archbishop Diosdado Talamayan, from the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao (Philippines) will offer our regularly scheduled 5pm Mass this evening, Sunday, November 9. There will be a second collection at that Mass to aid the elderly and sick priests of his Archdiocese.
Election. Well, another election is over. It seems that there was good news for Catholics, as many politicians were elected who claim to support the right to life, traditional marriage and religious freedom. Let us thank the Lord for that. But as Psalm 146 reminds us: “Put not your trust in princes.” So let us redouble our efforts to work for the true good of our great nation, and let us trust in the Lord’s mercy and grace: may God bless America.
Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles