October 9, 2016

A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” –  10/9/16  –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!   Peace and goodness to you this day!

Ten lepers were healed by Jesus.  Leprosy was one of the worst possible things that could happen to you in Jesus’ day.  It still not a good thing even today.  Jesus completely heals these ten people.  Only one of them comes back to say “Thank you”.   And it is the foreigner!

We all need to be more grateful for our blessings.  That’s the reality of this story.  And being grateful is about a lot more than just saying “Thank you”.  Gratitude is a way of life.  It changes us.  When you’re grateful, you want to do something about it.

The Bible says that because of our gratitude to God, that we should tithe.  We should give back to God 10% of our blessings, of what we have received.  Do you show your gratitude by giving back?  Do you tithe?

You know, they say that show me where you spend your money, and I’ll show you what’s important to you, where your heart is at.  I think we all know this to be true.  Some people spend their money on their house.  Some people spend their money on their car.  Some people spend their money on trips and vacations.  Some people spend their money on their yards, or their clothes, or their kids.  I have a friend of mine who recently spent $2000 on a baseball card, Roberto Clemente, mint-condition!  Obviously, that’s what’s important to him.  It’s his money.  It’s where his heart is.  He loves baseball cards.  He loves God too, and I’m pretty sure that he tithes.  But that’s an expensive baseball card!  I’m not sure that I’d pay $2 for all the baseball cards in the world.  But that’s because baseball cards are not important to me.  The question I ask you today, what is important to you?

Something that is important to all of us, hopefully, is our Faith and our Church!  Just like other important things in our lives, we should be willing to spend some of our hard-earned money on our Faith and our Church.  And so our tithe is important.  What we give back to God expresses our gratitude and shows how important our Faith is to us.  Today I want to talk to you about this year’s Fruitful Harvest Campaign which we just kicked off.  Jim Lutz talked to us last week.  I want to talk about this, this week.  And then we need to get this done.  We’re not going to talk about this again, especially during the homily time.

Every two years, our Diocese does their Fruitful Harvest Campaign.  It is the way that we pay for our portion of the Diocesan expenses.  For the next two years, our Parish is going to owe the Diocese $570,000 for our part of those expenses.  Every two years, for the past twenty years, we have piggy backed on the Diocesan campaign to also raise money for St. Maria Goretti, in particular to build these Parish facilities.  This has worked out very well for us.  The piggy-backing on to their Campaign, they call it, dove-tailing, has saved us thousands of dollars in the costs of running these campaign.  Again, it is a good thing.

So, including our portion of Fruitful Harvest, in the next few weeks, we’ve set a goal of $2.4 million dollars for this campaign.  Now, you know and I know, that’s a lot of money.  However, back in 2002, when we only had 850 families, many of which are still here today, we not only pledged, but we raised $4.5 million dollars to build this church.  Guys, in 2016, with over 1700 families, we can do this!  We can pay off all our debt, we can finish the Adoration Chapel, and we can, hopefully, start funding the connector.  As hopefully you have heard, the rest of the Bell Tower has been paid for, by one St. Maria Goretti Family!  They are now challenging the rest of us to do our part to take care of the rest of these things.

And we can do this, we can do this together.  We don’t need anybody to walk in the door and give us a million dollars.  We need all of us do our part and make this happen.  And we can all do something.  This is not about equal gifts, but it’s gotta be about equal sacrifice.

So, if you are new, and have only been in the Parish in the last two years, we need your help.  Some of us have been doing this for twenty years now, every two years.  We need you to join us this effort.  Make your pledge.  You have two years to pay it.  Think of what you can give, and then double it.

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If you have been around here, and maybe last time you didn’t make a pledge, or couldn’t make a pledge, we need you to do something.   $5, $50, something.  Then double it for the two years.  Nobody can sit back and just watch all the rest of us make the sacrifices.  We need everybody’s help.  Everybody can do something.

IF you have been pledging and paying on these Fruitful Harvest Campaign for the last several years, I thank you.  God thanks you.  The Holy Roman Catholic Church thanks you for your generosity!  I would like to be able to say, “Gee, you’ve done enough, sit this one out.”   That’s not what I’m saying to you.  We need your help again!  Please make a new pledge and help us out again.  Think of what you can do, and double it.

You may be noticing a theme here.  In 2014, when we did the last Campaign, which many of us are still paying on until December, we pledged $1.4 million together.  That was good.  It was a big help.  But to finish this off, we’re going to need almost double that.  The simple solution, if all of us simply double what we did two years ago, we’ve got this taken care of, more than taken care of.  Please help us out.

The pledge cards are once again going to be available after Mass today in the Church narthex.  Every card must be filled out for the Diocese.  Please stop by and fill out your card today.  We need everybody’s help.

God has been very good to all of us.  We need to be grateful.  We need to show our gratitude.  Will you be the one who comes back to Jesus, to thank Him?   I’m betting that you will!

+ May God bless us this day,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                                   AMEN !!!

 

St. Maria Goretti…              Pray for us !!!