MONDAY HOMILY: Giving Everything
The parish gave to the Lord what they had, and he supplied the rest, multiplying their offering like the loaves and fishes
The apostles didn't hold anything in reserve for themselves. They gave everything to the Lord, as he asked. There was no provision for a personal safety net; everything was entrusted to God.
SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online) - Someone I know tells the story of a young priest who was assigned to a poor parish in the inner city. Despite his relative youth, the priest was entrusted with the responsibilities of a pastor, not because of his abilities, but because no one else wanted the parish. It was poor, run-down, and in need of a great deal of care and pastoral service.
Swamped by the scope of material and spiritual challenges of his assignment, the priest, despite his trust in God, could not help but to feel a bit overwhelmed by everything. Compounding the human difficulties was the fact that the parish only had $835 in the bank. It wasn't enough to pay the light bill.
To make matters worse, while celebrating Mass on the Sunday after his arrival, there was a near-disaster during the consecration. The church had a simple altar, made of plywood and covered with plastic laminate. Because the altar was wood, an altar stone had been recessed into the mensa (the top of the altar). During the Mass, the altar stone fell to the floor, just as the Host had been consecrated.
The priest heard a "thud" during the elevation, and upon genuflecting to adore the Eucharist, he saw the altar stone lying on the floor. Only the three layers of starched linens had prevented the chalice and paten from falling through the hole in the altar. The priest took this as a sign.
"OK, Lord," he said, "I take it from this that you want a new altar for your church. We will build you one, but we only have $835 in the bank. You can have that, but you're going to have to multiply it."
About a year later, the Bishop visited the parish to consecrate the new marble altar, which was installed as part of a wholesale restoration of the church. A few days earlier, the priest had tallied the cost of the work. The total bill was more than $100,000 and it was paid in full. In fact, when the pastor wrote the last check to the final worker on the job, the parish was left with $835 in the bank.
The parish gave to the Lord what they had, and he supplied the rest, multiplying their offering like the loaves and fishes.
From that day forward, that young priest never worried about money again.
St. Matthew's account of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Matthew 14:13-21) teaches us to trust in the providence of God. This is not an example of the "prosperity Gospel," a false teaching widely promoted today which holds that God will give material rewards and wealth to those who trust in him. Instead, this passage teaches us that God will give us what we need - even if it isn't fully what we want - and that we should always trust in him.
An essential element of this providence, however, is our cooperation. The apostles had five loaves and two fish. Hardly enough to feed a multitude numbering in the thousands. But they offered what they had, and Jesus did the rest.
Notice that the apostles didn't hold anything in reserve for themselves. They gave everything to the Lord, as he asked. There was no provision for a personal safety net; everything was entrusted to God.
As a result of this generosity, Jesus works a great miracle. He will work miracles in our lives as well, but we must do what the apostles did: offer him the gift of ourselves, whole and entire, without holding anything back. If we do so, we can have confidence that the Lord will multiply what we offer and produce abundant fruit in our souls.
Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is the Pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas. You are invited to visit them on the Web at: www.SugarLandCatholic.com
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Year of Faith News
- Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible
- Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture
- The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith
- Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer
- Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace
- The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean?
- Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life
- WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement
- Tuesday Homily: Conversion and Perseverance in the Life of Faith
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?