Tuesday, June 20, 2017

If you turn on the news today, you’ll find many young men and women who have everything they could ever want materially.... The money they have achieved, the fame, the drugs and the lifestyle haven’t brought them to some magical nirvana, but seem to have instead left them empty and broken. (click the link to read more)

June 20th, 2017
Tuesday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 366
2 COR 8:1-9
PS 146:2, 5-6AB, 6C- 7, 8-9A
MT 5:43-48

If you turn on the news today, you’ll find many young men and women who have everything they could ever want materially.   Through their natural, God-given skills they have created careers that have lined their coffers and even those of their friends, families, and agents.  There seems to be a pervading darkness there that lies under the surface though.  From Miley to Katy Perry, we find that these men and women aren’t happy.   The money they have achieved, the fame, the drugs and the lifestyle haven’t brought them to some magical nirvana, but seem to have instead left them empty and broken.   Suicide is rampant among the rich and famous, as is drug use, pedophilia, and various other dark deeds that aren’t spoken of in polite company.  All of these things are a search for something to make them happy, something to give them hope.

Why then is it so hard for us to let go of the very thing that we know doesn’t make us happy?  It seems like every time I turn on the radio someone is asking for money.   The Church has a yearly fund drive, the Pastoral Council wants to build another house, the guy at the train station wants another handout, and my kids need this or that.  God has gifted me with what little money I have to make a difference in the world.  To care for my family and friends.   The simple act of being asked to give up some of that abundance that He has so generously given me is almost a litmus test to my commitment to the Church and to the Kingdom.   Do I have enough faith to let go of the providence I have already received in the belief that it will come to me again?   Do I believe God will follow through on His promise to always take care of me?

Paul has spoken the need of a monetary commitment to the community but Jesus, as He always does, gets to the root of the problem.  Do we truly love?  It’s not the ones who show us love that test our faith and our conversion.   The person who gets on our nerves, the one who we don’t know, the one who squanders their own blessings and then expects mine.   That’s when our faith is tested.   That’s part of what giving to the Church is about.   When we find ourselves saying things like “I’ve given them for every project, I’m not doing it anymore!”, we are stepping into that same trap.  We are holding to the money that will never bring us happiness, instead of giving and trusting in God to provide.   That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t ever consider where their money is going, or do their research to find out that it’s actually going where it says it is.   What it does mean though, is that the true stress test of whether or not you are a Christian is: do I believe the promises that Christ has given me?  Or am I just going through the motions?

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14