Giving with a grateful heart - Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

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Home > Archbishop > Homilies > Giving with a grateful heart - Thirty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

 

Today we come to this Church drawn by our faith. We believe in God and want to offer him our worship.  We come to unite ourselves, our lives, our hopes and joys, our pains and sufferings with the living God whom we know loves us beyond measure.

Pope Benedict commented, “Without God man neither knows which way to go, nor even understands who he is” (Caritatis in Veritate #78). Our faith in God provides the orientation for our lives. Indeed we can say that without God we would flounder, our life would have no meaning, no focus, no goal. Our Catholic faith gives us a foundation to all we are. Our Catholic faith shapes our thoughts. Our Catholic faith inspires the direction and purpose for our lives.

Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). We know this to be true. We want to base our lives in Christ. We want him to be the guide and inspirer of all that we do and say. We are also encouraged by the words of Jesus: “I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20). These are most comforting and encouraging words. When we come to Mass we receive this promise in a most wonderful way when we come to the altar and receive the living risen Lord in Holy Communion.
We are convinced that true human life is to be found through living our faith.

And we are deeply conscious that all we have and are is a gift from God.

The creation around us bears eloquent testimony to the wisdom and greatness of God. We see the beauty of God reflected in the “work of his hands”. Created reality reveals to us the nature of God who is beyond our understanding.

We are aware that we exist as a gift. We did not choose our coming into being. This is God’s first and great gift to us – our human life. We are taught by Sacred Scripture that we have been made in the image and likeness of God. Such is our dignity. We can see how our humanity captures some aspects of the nature of God.

We see in ourselves some small reflection of God – in our minds teeming with ideas, in our hearts moved by love. We sense the mystery of God in our love of music and art, in our attraction to beauty. We see an image of God in the love of married spouses and in the procreation of human life.

We can think too of our personal gifts and abilities. We know that we have some simple attributes that mean a lot to us. Maybe it is some ability like being able to play piano, or some special interest. We know of some things that give us great pleasure. There are some things that so enrich our human life.

More importantly we have come to know the nature of God because we can see him in his own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ we see the compassion of God, we see the desire of God to heal and give hope. In Christ we see a love beyond our limited comprehension. In Christ we see what God is prepared to do to enable our salvation.

In creation, in Christ, God has revealed himself to us. We are exposed to a mystery that is beyond our comprehension.

God has given us everything. We have deserved none of it.
And, further, he offers us eternal life. He has made us to live forever and he wants us to see him face to face. He wants us to share in his joy. He wants us to experience the glory and splendour that is his. He wants us to taste a happiness which we cannot never imagine.

This is the God we have come to worship today in this Mass.

In the Gospel St Mark describes a very human scene. Jesus is in the temple precinct. We are told that he sat down opposite the temple treasury. Then a poor widow came along and placed two small coins as a donation.
The Lord witnessing his said. “This poor widow has put in more that all who have contributed to the treasury”. It is not the amount of money that counts but the heart that gives.

It is what is in the heart when a gift is made that finally counts. 

The story also witnesses to the fact that this poor widow wanted to make a contribution to the temple treasury even though she had so little. She wanted, in the midst of her poverty, to give back to God. From even the little she had she felt that it was right to make a gift.

We are the recipients of the generous love of God. Everything we have and are have come from God. Thus we want to give something back. We want to give back with a generous heart, with a joyful heart.

The first thing we can give – and the most important thing we can give - is ourselves. “Lord, you have given all to me, I offer myself to you”.

These are the words of St Ignatius of Loyola and they wonderfully capture this complete giving over of ourselves to the Lord:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

This offering of ourselves to God means that we are open to God’s will for us. As we say in the Lord’s Prayer – “Your will be done on earth as in heaven”. We can say with the psalmist, “Lord, here I am I come to do your will” (see Ps 40). 

We can offer our time and talent to the Lord. For example, we can serve the parish community in some way.

Finally, like the widow, we make a contribution from what we have. We give generously to the Church and to the poor.

God has given us all, we desire to give back with grateful hearts.

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Saturday, 7 November 2015