For Sunday, September 1, 2013
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29
Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a
Luke 14:1, 7-14
When I was a penniless college student, I received one of my most important lessons in giving.
A friend was in town to visit and took me out to eat. When the check came to the table, I felt a blush of shame at my inability to help him pay. All I could do was thank him effusively. As he slid his credit card into the sleeve of the server book, he told me, “Many people have helped me throughout my life whom I could never hope to pay back. I am glad to have this opportunity to help you. And in the future, you also will help many people in turn.”
His words not only helped ease some of my embarrassment but they taught me that, by allowing him this opportunity to give, I was also being generous. And it has encouraged me to seek out opportunities to help others in return for all the generosity I have received that I could never hope to pay back.
In this Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 14:1, 7-14), Jesus encourages his host to extend invitations for dinner to those who cannot return him the favor—to the sick, the poor, the blind, the lame. Because they will not be able to give him anything in return, he will receive blessings from God whose resources are infinite. Not only is it a call to generosity, but it is an invitation to recognize that all we have comes to us from God through others. It is not ours to keep but to pass along to those in need. As Jesus says in another place, “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give” (Mt 10:8). We can never hope to pay back our heavenly Father for all his blessings, but we can “pay it forward” to our sisters and brothers in need.
The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2012 was released this month, celebrating a record-setting year for charitable giving. There are many motivations behind why corporations and individuals share their wealth with others whether it be for the tax benefit or for public relations reasons. Charitable giving can be a powerful tool in teaching children about their responsibilities towards others. For Christian believers, it is most of all an opportunity for us to share in God’s providence, recognizing that all we have comes from him and continues to belong to him.
In both our giving and receiving we are called to be humble. When giving, we cannot call attention to ourselves or use our alms as a way of showing superiority to others. In receiving, we must not be ashamed at our neediness. All of us—both those who give and those who receive—are indebted to our heavenly Father for everything. And we can never hope to pay him back for everything we have and are.
in your goodness you have given us this earth
with all its beauty and resources.
Help us to use wisely the goods you have given us.
Teach us to open our hands to those in need
without seeking anything in return.
Open our hearts to receive with humility
and to pass on to others in turn.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.
CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES
Catholic Relief Services continues to help feed the hungry in the world. Encourage parish members to make giving to CRS a regular part of their charitable activity. Visit www.crs.org/cb for ideas on how to help and ways to spread the word about CRS. If you publish your bulletin or newsletter with Liturgical Publications Inc (LPi) you’ll find photos and stories from CRS on the LPi Art & Media Portal that you can use to promote this good work.
Liturgical Publications Inc hosts monthly webinars on stewardship communications, as well as regional seminars throughout the country. You can view a full list of scheduled webinars and seminars on the lower right corner of our home page at www.4LPi.com/schedule.
CATECHETICAL SUNDAY—September 15, 2013
The USCCB offers resources for parishes and families to celebrate Catechetical Sunday on September 15. The theme for this year is “Open the Door of Faith.” For more information, visit: www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/catechetical-sunday/index.cfm.
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