Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Pete Iorio
Stewardship Sunday, October 6, 2019 – 8:30 & 11:00 Mass
On July 16, 2015, in my home city of Chattanooga, TN, there was a mass shooting at a military recruiting center and then a navy reserve. Five servicemen were killed. Since I was in Johnson City, a friend of mine sent me a tee-shirt to be in solidarity with them. Red, white and blue letters say A Stronger Chattanooga. Faith not fear. 07/16/15.
What strikes me is how Biblical that message is: Faith not Fear. In light of the readings today, we focus on the question of faith… not as something to believe, like the creed, but trust and confidence in God at all times and in all situations.
The main question that arises from the readings today is: How big is your faith? In the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Habbukuk, the situation is one that perhaps we can relate to… there is misery and violence all around. We cry out to God for help. And it seems that God is not listening. God does not care. And in the end, the rash person, the one who reacts has no integrity but the just person is saved by faith. The trust and confidence that God has got this.
A person of faith sees beyond the present situation and knows inside that God is indeed present and is listening and cares immensely. Faith is a bigger trust in the greatness of a good God. Faith is confidence and trust in God who made the world as very good. Is the world a scary place? Or is the world a friendly place?
Albert Einstein was once asked if the universe is a friendly place. “If we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that is unfriendly.
If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is merely playing dice with the universe, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives.”
In the Gospel, the apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith. Their faith will certainly increase as they accompany Jesus through His life, His Passion, His death and His resurrection. They will come to know Christ crucified and that this love is greater than the fear of death.
In the teachings of St. Paul, he says that three things last: Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of these is love. These three virtues are entwined together. You cannot have faith without hope and love. And perfect love casts out all fear, says the first letter of John.
There are basically two types of people… people who live out of a mentality of scarcity where they are always fearful that there will not be enough. When you live out of this space, you will always be protecting, always guarding your little group or your little piece of the pie. The attitude is that there is never enough. But, that is not the nature of faith.
Jesus came to introduce us to a world of abundance through trust and confidence in the ultimate goodness of God. People of Faith see the big picture … that God is always present and that life and our reality is GOOD!! God is good … all the time, as the saying goes. Faithful people do not live a fear-based life. They live out of a spirit of abundance. These people of faith can do wonderful and seemingly impossible things, like uproot a mulberry bush and move it into the sea. Faithful people know that more grace is available. More love is available.
As we continue our focus on stewardship, let us increase our faith. Let us trust that as we pledge to give time, talent and treasure to our parish, the goodness and abundance of God will guide our decisions.
At this time, I invite Monica Gawet, chair of our finance board to give you an honest and transparent picture of the finances at Our Lady of Fatima.