Gifts to the Church → True Wealth
As we should recognize, the theme of what constitutes
is one that not only runs through the entire bible, it is perhaps one of the most dominant teachings of Jesus. The readings on this Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time all bear this message.
Just reviewing the language used by Amos in the First Reading regarding this prophecy, it is clear that people don’t often understand or live with a complete understanding of what wealth and comfort truly are. Amos points out that God warns us of more than wallowing in luxuries; he quotes God as saying,
“Woe to the complacent.”
This indicates an even greater threat to our pursuit of holiness.
The eminent author, philosopher, and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis wrote,
“Indifference is the main enemy of love, not hatred.”
Do we really care about those around us? If we do not, from the heart, we cannot be the disciples and loving stewards Jesus wants us to be. This is the complacency about which Amos is speaking. It is as if we hide and conceal our own sins, and thus conclude that God cannot see them either. God is aware, and we need to be alert and aware, to guard against apathy, indifference, and complacency.
The Second Reading today is from St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy. We need to appreciate that most of Paul’s letters were written to faith communities (e.g., Ephesians, Colossians, Romans, Corinthians, and so on). However, a few including the letters to Timothy were written to individuals, in reality to pastors, our shepherds.
The significance for us is that Jesus expects each of us to be a shepherd. That, too, is what being a disciple of His is all about. We may not be the formal shepherd like a priest or Jesus, but we hold the same responsibilities to shepherd those we love and those with whom we come in contact. St. Paul opens today’s reading by saying (addressed to all men and women of God, including each of us),
“But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith.”
Paul very much grasped and employed this idea of competing to describe how we were to live and to teach others.
If you are constantly
it is difficult to be complacent. In fact, to pursue those things that Paul outlines and mentions we must be active, not passive, involved and caring, not complacent and indifferent. Being a disciple entails action. Stewardship means action, not just sharing, but sharing openly and actively.
We have a choice, just as those highlighted in today’s readings. We can be satisfied and choose to remain ignorant and removed from the needs around us, or we can love as Jesus wishes, follow Him, and be disciples.
Please remember St. Mary’s with a gift in your will or estate plan!