Father O’Connor’s Homily for October 19, 2014
Twenty-Ninth Ordinary Sunday – A
Weekend Three: First Annual Stewardship Commitment Sunday
Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b
This is our First Annual Stewardship Renewal Commitment Sunday. Thank you for being a part of this great opportunity for our parish family as we make our stewardship commitments together in the areas of time, talent and treasure for the next twelve months..
I know that many of you have brought your commitment cards with you today, all filled-out. Thank you! Others of you have already mailed in your commitment cards. Thank you! If you are one of those people with completed cards, there is no need to fill-out another card today.
Perhaps you forgot to fill-out a card. Well I am going to give you the opportunity to do so right here. Just raise your hand and one of the members of our Stewardship Council will bring a commitment card and a pen to you right now.
You can use one card for all of the persons in your household – adults and young people. Just write your first name next to the ministry that you are either “already involved in” or that you are “interested in joining.”
At the time of the collection, we may all deposit our completed commitment cards in the basket along with our regular Offertory envelopes.
Since this Commitment Sunday is so important, if you have not already completed a card, I invite you to do so right now while I tell a few stories about the power of our stewardship example for our parish family and our community.
There was a grandfather who loved to play golf, and his little grandson was very interested in the game too. So Grandpa would take the little tyke with him out on to the greens. And one day Grandpa bought a small set of golf clubs for the little boy. The grandson was delighted and began practicing to be like just like Grandpa.
They were having a big family barbecue with all of the relatives, and the little fellow brought his golf clubs. When everybody was there he said, “Let me show you how Grandpa taught me to play golf!” And he put down the ball and took the club, he took a swing and missed – and let out a stream of profanity! Then he took that small golf club, went over to the maple tree and wrapped it right around it! Boy, did Grandpa teach him!
We have the expression that actions speak louder than words. That applies to bad and good example. Our good example – our stewardship actions – can help someone to be an even better disciple of Jesus. In today’s second reading, St. Paul is writing to the Thessalonians about their example – their great example that has inspired each other, and also has inspired and encouraged him. So he writes to thank them: “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Good example is something that we are all capable of giving, no matter what our age. And we are all capable of receiving.
You know the name of Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s. When he was fifteen, he quit high school and went to work in the restaurant business, and he had a real knack for it. He was very, very successful, and eventually founded the Wendy’s empire.
But there was something that troubled Dave Thomas in his life. He was worried about the example that he was setting for young people. He didn’t want to be known as “the drop-out who made millions.” So at an age when most people were retiring, Dave Thomas hired a tutor and received his GED. He wanted to set a good example, and it was that important to him to do so.
A mother by the name of Rose lived in Albania. She and her husband had a large family, and one of the things that Rose used to do was if she saw somebody that looked hungry or lonely, she’d invite them to have dinner at their family table.
This happened all the time, and when the children would ask, “Mom, who is that at our dining room table?” She would answer, “Oh, it’s a member of our family.” The kids grew up thinking that they had a huge extended family. Of course, Rose was meaning that they were “one family in Jesus Christ.”
One of the daughters was named Agnes, and from the time she was small she had a real interest in people who were sick or lonely or poor. The seeds that God planted in Agnes’ heart really were nurtured by her mother’s and father’s example in their home. You all know Agnes, although you know her by another name. She became a nun, and took the name of Mother Teresa – now Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.
How did she grow in her love for the sick, for the lonely, for the poor? God planted those seeds, but the example of her mother and father helped those seeds to grow, and have touched the world.
We all give good example to give and we all benefit from the good example of others. St. Paul acknowledged that in today’s second reading. He was grateful for the example of the people of Thessalonica. He was encouraged by their example, and saw its fruits. And so I leave you with St. Paul’s words to us today, that I ask you to carry in your hearts:
“We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Amen.