On Death and giving (Ord13B)

While I was preparing this homily I was struck by 2 themes of the readings: death, and sharing our goods with others.  And I was wondering what the connection was. So in my prayer I asked the Lord. And he gave me an answer: very interesting you know, to ask the Risen Jesus questions – and then to get answers from him too!  This is one of the great things about Christianity: the Lord is here, speaking with us!

So what is the link between death and giving? The link is that our own life is a gift from God.  Normally, in the normal way of things, we would not exist. Why should we? We are not necessary to God and he owes us nothing.  You are only here at all because God, at this very moment, desires you: he wants you, and he has given you and I each a place in his creation to use our gifts – which he has also has given – to give creation and ourselves back to Him.   In other words: God, who is infinitely rich, shared with us the most fundamental part of himself, his very being with us, that we too could exist. Surely, then, it makes sense for us to gratefully do the same.

We can say, it’s not a gift: we lose it when we die, he takes it away.  Not so! Not so! God’s gift to us is, in his Providence, a finite gift to us.  In creating us, he gives us a set gift for a set time on earth. The question for you and I is: how do I use this gift?  How have I used it? Have I used it well so far? Because God is not going to give you another. If you have not used it well so far, you still have a chance: come to confession, repent, and go away inspired and changed by the love of the Father to spend your life loving him with all your heart and your neighbour as he loves you.

We can argue that, I worked hard – I deserve it.  No: there are many people in the world who work hard.  Many of these remain poor. This is not fair. What is my duty then?  To share the riches God has given me with those to whom he has not.

How do we do this as Christians?  There are a number of things we consider:

  1. How much is too much or too little?  Our first duty is to care for ourselves and our family’s needs.  If our giving affects this, then we are giving too much.
  2. We’re all rich: we all have life.  How do I share my life with others?  If we don’t generously share our life with others – then certainly, we are wasting our life.
  3. How do I share my money with others?
    1. Firstly, our main charity is our parish.  While we can give to charities who help those I don’t know – how can I help those far away and not those here on my doorstep?  This is why, while we can have other charities, our first place to share is with those in our parish.
    2. Secondly, how much to we give?  A few considerations:
      1. One good measure is to give 10%.  This is not a rule of the church: but it is biblical.  Don’t worry: God can manage the money far better than you.
      2. A second is to give enough to say:  I am giving generously.
      3. Thirdly: to review every year to see if I can give a little more.
      4. Finally, of course: ask the Lord!  He will have good ideas too…

So let us ask for this in this mass: for the freedom to give of ourselves generously, like God does unhesitatingly for us.  Amen.