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Homily: “Will You Give?”

Homily: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Yr. B “Will You Give?”
by Fr. William Holtzinger
Nov. 11, 2012

The Sacred Scriptures give us examples of people giving yet doing so with hope and expectation of God’s providential care. The widows in the first reading and the the gospel gave their last -- all they had. As I was pondering and praying about these texts, questions came to mind that I found myself trying to answer. Maybe you, too, might find some insight for yourself.

Do you have a generous countenance or do you hoard? Do you let go or must you always control? Are you courageous or too scared to go forward? Do you hope or do you despair? Do you recognize the abundance in life or can you only see the scarcity? Do you put your trust in Jesus or in politicians? Do you lend a hand or are you always looking for a handout? Do you know how gifted you are or are you overly self-critical? Are you generous at collection time or do you calculate why you need it more than God’s church? Do you invite people to Mass or are you always waiting to be invited? Do you love people or are things your treasure? Do you love or live in fear? Do you know that you are precious or do you think you are junk? Do you take time to notice things or are you in too big of a hurry to care? Do you look people in the eye or stare at the ground as you pass? Do you celebrate life or is it total misery? Do you see life as a great adventure or is it all about fate? Do you know God or just know about God? Do you go the extra mile or skip corners when nobody is looking? Do you give when ever you can or withdraw with a false excuses? Do you say yes to people and then say no later? Do you trust or are you suspicious of everyone’s motives? Do you listen or are you always talking? Are you humble when you make a mistake or do you get defensive when anyone notices that you goofed? Do you listen to and obey the sacred teachings of the Church or do you ignore the truth when it is difficult? Do you critically analyze issues with assent to the Faith or do you reject a teaching simply because you don’t want anyone to tell you what to do? Do your actions demonstrate that you value and respect the dignity of life or are you guilty of placing your own personal desires ahead of the most vulnerable? Do you stand for the truth even when unpopular or do you cower to peer pressure? Do you take people at face value or are you always scheming to find how they are trying to manipulate you? Do seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation when you are guilty of serious sin or do you shrug it off? Do you know that God has won the war or are you overcome by the battles? Can you laugh at yourself or are you always serious? Do you listen to God or just yourself? Do you assume the best or assume the worst about others? Do you bless the stranger you encounter or avoid them in fear? Do you give with no expectations or with strings attached? Do you know God’s forgiveness or feel that your sin could never be forgiven? Do you speak well of others or do you spread gossip which destroys? Do you praise God in all things or always complain to him? Do you strive to do heroic things or do you frequently play the victim? Do you use your power in order to give it away or do you lord it over everyone in order to subdue those around you? Do you seek solutions or must you be right and others be wrong? Do you treat others with the dignity they deserve or do you mistreat them. Are you living your life to the full or are you afraid inside?

These comparisons are meant to prick your conscience. Maybe they reveal who you are and how God wants you to be. The two women in the Scriptures today demonstrate radical trust in a loving God and were thereby open to encounters with God’s presence in the persons of Elijah and Jesus, both of whom revealed something about God. It may appear that these encounters were not all that important, however the fact that we are still talking about them thousands of years after the events demonstrates that they are most certainly important to the life of the faithful. Those people truly lived and their deeds are recounted for others who wish to live. Will you give yourself for others regardless of reward? Will you be willing to sacrifice so that others may have the freedom to live abundant lives in faith?

I know many people have done just that. Today is veteran’s day. Today we are reminded of all those men and women who have faithfully offered their lives in service to our country. In many ways, they also exemplify the qualities of our Catholic Faith. They were called and stepped forward in response. They were challenged not to bend to their own whims especially when things got tough, but to be faithful in the calling they had received, to discharge their duties with honor and valor, even to sacrifice their lives if need be. Today we honor our veterans. But, let us also be reminded of our own calling from God not to cower under pressure, but to stand righteous before God in service to our neighbor with charity as our first ideal. May the Eucharist you receive today lift you up and give you the grace to do and be, like the widows in the Scriptures today, a person of faith trusting even when things are difficult.