A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” – 11/11/18 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to each of you this day!
You can tell that we are less than two weeks away from Thanksgiving. You know how? You can tell that it’s almost Thanksgiving because almost everything that they make, they now have in that seasonal pumpkin spice flavor! We’ve gone way beyond Starbuck’s pumpkin spice mocha espresso, lattes! Now everything comes in pumpkin spice flavor! And it’s all for a limited-time. It’s called a seasonal flavor. There are pumpkin spice donuts, and pumpkin spice Pop-Tarts, and pumpkin spice beer! How thirsty do you have to be, to drink pumpkin spice beer! There’s even pumpkin spice Life cereal. Yep, Thanksgiving must be getting close, because pretty much everything smells like, and tastes like, pumpkin spice.
We come to Mass this weekend, and our Gospel reading also has important Thanksgiving implications. Jesus starts out talking about the scribes. Now the scribes are NOT very grateful. In fact, they seem to operate as though they are owed respect, and honor, and privilege. More over, the scribes are exceedingly good at taking, but, at least according to Jesus, they don’t seem to be willing or able to do anything at all, to help other family members. They are not grateful. They are not giving to others in any way, shape, or form. And they are very good at looking out for themselves. Clearly, Jesus does not have a high regard for these Jewish leaders. In fact, He talks of the punishment that is coming for them.
Contrast then, the story from the second half of today’s Gospel, the story about the poor widow. The poor widow is in many ways the exact opposite of the Jewish scribes. The Widow is grateful for all that she has, and knows that even what little she has, has been given to her by God. The Widow trusts in God. She is so willing to trust God’s providence, that she has no problem putting her last two cents, because she firmly believes that God is going to take care of her, no matter what! It is not an option for her, to fail to give back to God, because has been so generous to her! Out of response and thanksgiving to God’s incredible generosity, the poor Widow knows that she must do something to show to God her love and gratitude, even if that means, giving away what little that she has. Gratitude demands a response. And I’m not just talking about turkey and dressing and pumpkin spice cupcakes. What God has done for us, with His only Son, Jesus, dying for our sins on a cross, challenges us to faith, to generous response, and to give back without counting the cost! The poor widow gets that. The Jewish scribes and Pharisees do not. They are too selfish to be grateful, or to have faith and trust in God.
Jesus tells us all this to remind us that our God, His Father, is just like the poor Widow. We have a generous, giving God, Who gives us everything, holding nothing back, not even His Only Son! We need to be grateful. We need to show our gratitude every day, and not just on one Thursday in November! You know, that’s what the Mass is! Eucharist is the Greek word for “thanksgiving” or “to give thanks”. Every time we gather together at the Altar of the Lord, we are thanking Him for all that He has done for us! It’s another important reason why it is so good for us to come to Mass as often as possible. It is because all of us should respond in gratitude for all that God has done for us!
Look, we don’t all have to give millions of dollars. We don’t have to give away everything that we have. But we do all need to know and be grateful for what our God has done for us. We pray to be able to express our gratitude in many varied ways, as we journey through this life! The scribes and Pharisees mistakenly thought that they were gods. It got them into big trouble. May our gratitude and our expressions of thanksgiving keep us humble and trusting in the real God!
+ And may God bless us this week, as we seek to serve Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us!!!