31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, November 3, 2019
Fr. Kyle
Homily transcription: 

A few years ago (not at this parish.  It was a different one), a parishioner asked me how much, as Catholics we are supposed to give.  I responded we should give everything.  He looked at me with one of those faces that was half frightened and half confused. 

So, here is the deal.  I do not care how much money you give.  I simply want you to be free.  When we are truly free, we are not shackled by fears of loosing things, not having enough or somehow missing out.  When we are truly free, we are able to freely give of ourselves.  And when we freely give, our lives begin to have true meaning and value.  When we fearfully try to hold on to what we want, we are shackled by fear of looking it.  When we give, we are set free to discover what we were made for.  Let me give you an example.

Last Saturday I had a college friend in town visiting so I had another priest come in and cover the Saturday night mass so that we could just do whatever we want all day long.  Tailgating, BBQ ribs, Coors Light and football.  It was going to be awesome!   A day where we just get to do whatever we want.  And, I will not lie, it was awesome.  But, at the end of the day I was surprised to think to myself, as awesome as it was, that is was still not as beautiful as celebrating the sacrament of marriage with a couple or celebrating God’s mercy in the sacrament of Reconciliation or even going to the hospital to visit those in need. 

What I want for us as a parish family, what I want for all people is that we are free enough to stop trying to hold on to “my” things; my Saturday, my possessions, my time, my money.  I do not care how much money you give to church (okay, that’s not totally true, we do need money to operate).  But what I care about more is that we are free.  Not shackled by holding on to “my” things but free to give; free to discover what we were made for. 

It is this freedom that will change our families, change our parish, community and our whole world.  As Archbishop Jackels likes to say, I do not put my hope in whoever is sitting under the golden dome in Des Moines or in Washington DC to change the world.  The may have “political power”.  But true power is found in those who freely give of themselves.  And so I don’t look to Des Moines or DC to change the world.  I look to these people right in front of me (and those people behind me too).  I look to you and me who have the power to freely give of ourselves to change our families, to change our community, to change our world.  If at this time tomorrow the world is not at least a little bit better than it is now, then it is your fault, and your fault, and your fault, and my fault.  We have the opportunity to freely give of ourselves to change the world.  And if we do not take that opportunity, then it is our fault that the world is not a better place. 

And so I would like to propose a challenge for us.  As yourself the question, “how free am I?”  How much do we try to hold on to “my” things and is that keeping us from freely giving?  Then, consider how we might freely give to our parish and community.  Perhaps it is giving time to help with our kids in Faith Formation.  Perhaps it is in volunteering to help at the Emergency Residence Project.  Perhaps it is in putting an extra $100 bill in the collection basket on top of the usual $100 bill we put in. 

Here is the thing, I don’t actually care how much you give.  All I really want is that you are free.  So, how much should we give as Catholics?  Well, Jesus does not ask for much, he just asks us to freely be able to give everything.