God gives all of the gifts that you have

By Msgr. William Carr

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I Kings 17:10-16; Hebrews 9:24-28; and Mark 12:38-44
You can’t run a parish on copper coins of destitute widows. But if everyone had the spirit of generous sacrifice shown by the widow in today’s gospel, no parish would ever have financial problems.
The Old Testament made the tithe (“ten percent”) the rigid norm and ideal for giving. That is not good New Testament theology. Jesus tells us that those who have more must give more — not merely in quantity, but in percentage! Stewardship is to recognize God as the giver of all gifts, and to seek to thank him by returning to him the first and best.
Sunday’s first reading tells of a widow nine centuries before Christ. She was not of the Chosen People; she was a gentile or pagan. She was destitute and about to die; yet she gave from her want to Elijah…. and was richly rewarded. In the gospel, Jesus observes a lot of “comfortable” people giving sizable donations to the Temple; he then sees a poor widow who gives two copper coins — all that she had to live on. He says that she did more than all the rest. Unless we sacrifice, we don’t really practice much stewardship. If we give out of our surplus (whether it is time, talent, or treasure), it requires little effort and little faith. Great faith is required to give from a person’s want.
Test your faith: In planning your budget, do you decide first what you will give to the Church, or does that come after everything else? If it comes afterwards, how do you explain this to the Lord?
Listen to the Lord. He may be calling you to a higher state of holiness. He may be calling on you to take a leap of faith, to sacrifice. Whether poor, middle class, or wealthy, he calls you to give the first and best of your time, talent and treasure. He calls you to sacrifice. If you respond to his call, he will not be outdone in generosity.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Daniel 12:1-3; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; and Mark 13:24-32.
This is the last Sunday that we shall use green vestments until after the Christmas season; it is the end of the season of “Ordinary Time.” Next Sunday is the Solemnity of Christ the King, and the following Sunday is the First Sunday of Advent.
We meditate on the “Last Things.” None of us is going to get out of this alive! (There is, of course, an outside chance that Christ will come in glory today or tomorrow, but more than likely we shall be called to God in death.) No one is going to be here a hundred years from now. Maybe it will be a lot sooner. You can’t take it with you. You will leave all the pleasures and material comforts of this world behind. The only thing you will take with you is your virtuous life.
You will immediately be called to God in judgment. You will be judged on how well you have tried to love and serve God in this life. Another way of saying it is: “How well did you try to use your time, your talent, and your treasure for the Lord?” You will be responsible for every minute of every day of every year of your life.
As you live, so shall you die, and so shall you be judged, and so shall you spend eternity. Some people might consider these thoughts to be “scare tactics.” But they are facts, and we must face them. You may argue, and you may try to escape responsibility. But you truly will be judged by God.
Live each day as if it may be your last, and you won’t need to worry. If this were your last day, how would you use your time, your talent, and your treasure? Death is no fear for the person who lives for the Lord.