Ordinary Time, 33rd Sunday. Costly stones and votive offerings will all be destroyed, but a generous heart is a gift that will last forever. How do we get a generous heart? Three things to keep in mind about giving:

  • Put God first. Giving only says "I love you" when we give first, not on the leftovers.
  • Plan your giving. In order for us to have a habit, we have to do it regularly. What does regular generous giving look like for you?
  • Give a percentage, not just a dollar amount. Giving a nickel or a dime may not seem generous, but if we only get $1 a week, it's very generous. Giving $10 a week may seem generous, but for a person making $35,000 a week, that's only 1.5%. When we look at our gifts in proportion, how generous are we really?
In our first reading, the good people are struggling while the cheaters prosper. Wait and be patient, says the prophet, for the Sun of Justice will burn them up. The generous heart will survive while the selfish heart is destroyed. Filling our lives with habits of generosity will give us generous hearts.

Two years ago I spoke on money in a homily called Spending God's Money. Some very strange things happened that weekend and it led me to realize that the Devil uses selfishness to keep us trapped. Like the old story of the monkey trap, the Devil puts money and shiny things in a jar in order to catch human beings. As long as we hold on to that stuff, we remain trapped. Generosity sets us free. It makes us like God and gives us the one treasure that survives the end of the world: being people of generous hearts.

(17 Nov 2013)

PS: I said "people took money" out of the parish mailbox but I meant "mail."