Spiritually speaking, the Church puts before us the readings that make us think about the “last things”. Since we approach the end of the “liturgical year”, the bible readings all point to what our catechism calls the “Four Last Things”. Those are: death, judgment, heaven and hell.
Wow, heavy right? Indeed. But nothing we haven’t heard before (unless you grew up in a modern “church of what’s happenin’ now” where death is automatic sainthood, and God never judges us and our self esteem is forever increasing, and where hell only exists in an age long ago). So much serious reflection is required on these points, but today our bulletin has a message of a different kind of reckoning. It is time to finalize the end of year reporting to the parish. And, it is time for another parish council meeting for both parishes. It’s where you and I come in. It’s where we claim ownership of these wonderful little churches on the prairie.
Therefore, as we are reminded that although God’s grace is freely given and the beauty of “in God we trust” is rock solid, we must remember the church participates in the American economy as she leads us down the road of God’s economy of salvation. Whenever I report the finance of the parish, it becomes my duty to ask one and all to do their very best to contribute to the expenses of our parishes. Only you, with some deep prayer, can say if you are doing all you can be doing to help. Consider all your expenses and see what you may be able to do without, for the good of the Church. Consider your personal budget.
Unfortunately, most people never operate with a family household budget. But this is very Biblical. It is very wise. Its importance is greater when your income is less. Only the very wealthy don’t need to budget their finances. So, consider all that the Good Lord shares with you, and put aside a portion for the work of the parish. Consider the following Biblical principle seriously: A society strongly rooted in the love of the true God will have an enduring good economy, a society in rebellion against the true God will have short term wealth for a few, but poverty for the many. (cf. Ephesians 3:17) I truly sense our society is in trouble. However, I sense that our diocese is very strong. I sense that our parishes in “small town America” are called to be a major factor in the renewal of our world.
By far, my favorite Biblical story that leads me to be generous with my wallet and my time is the story of Gideon. Gideon was told by God to attack Israel’s enemies. And after Gideon assembled an army, God slowly whittled down the number of soldiers to a ridiculously small number of men. “Now, go fight the enemy” God told Gideon, “because I do not want you to think that you will be victorious on your own power, but that it is through me that you will prevail.” (cf. Judges 7) To me, that says, throw away your money for my sake and the sake of the gospel, and then you see God’s greatness. (Can you throw a tithe into the basket each Sunday?)
…and that God will lead us to make
our nation, unlike other nations…