As some of you know, yesterday Garrett and I attended Fr. Francis McInnis’, “Fr. Mac’s”, funeral in Great Falls. While I was there, I had the opportunity to visit with Father Guinan and go to confession. With the second reading in mind, I could have some good material for my homily, but I’m going to go in a different direction.
Thinking about the Gospel, and to some extent the first reading, I want to share some things Fr. Guinan shared with me. First, he said to tell all of those who were here when he was the pastor he said hello. He then asked how things were going with the school. I told him that like most small Catholic schools we can always use more money. He said that he wished when he first arrived in the parish about years ago to increase the giving of the parishioners to support the parish and the school. He wished he’d done more to bring the salaries of the teachers closer to a living wage. He was here when the Saint Mary’s Educational Trust was set up. However, there has not been much of an effort over the years to greatly increase our endowments. We have one new endowment that started with a $40,000 anonymous gift and a few additional contributions. The income from these sources pay about half of one of the 24 payrolls we face during the year.
As a parish, we strive to keep Catholic education affordable for our families. In order to accomplish that goal, we need to come up with additional monies from endowments and direct gifts. While I’ve been using the school as the example here, the same applies to all ministries in the Catholic Church. We have to keep in mind the need to support the Church on the local level, the diocesan level and the universal level.
Today’s Gospel and 1st Reading remind us not to get overly hooked on ourselves, but rather to see how we can use the gifts we’ve received from God to build up the kingdom. The gifts we’ve received are not simply so that we can “rest, eat, drink and be merry.” It has been entrusted to us to be used for the betterment of others. We are not expected to starve ourselves to feed others, but we could think about cutting back on some of what we do eat and give some of the savings to benefit others.
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”We need to look at what does really matter to God and find ways to act appropriately with our lives. If you have been entrusted with much, much will be expected. As you think about St. Mary’s school and parish, remind yourself what Jesus said before he told the parable,
“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”