Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Fr. Pete Iorio
October 17, 2021 - 11:00 AM
Our focus for the rest of the month is stewardship. Our use of money and possessions, and our time and talent is important for our spiritual lives. Jesus himself stressed the importance of these things.
- 16 of the 38 parables talked about money and possessions. - 1 out of 10 Gospel verses deal directly with the subject of money. - Over 2,000 verses in the bible mention money and possessions.
In today’s Gospel, those wonderful sons of thunder, James and John, display their ambition and demand that Jesus give them what they want… places of honor and glory. Does that attitude ever come out of us? God, give me this or grant me this desire… Gimme gimme gimme. While it is true that in another teaching, the Lord teaches us to ask for what we need in prayer, we are cautioned against seeking and asking for greatness above other people. We are instructed to ask only for what we need.
In the amazing way that Jesus often does, he turns things around when he says:
You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles
lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.
This is the great reversal that the Kingdom of God is not what the ways of the world are about. Jesus does not care about being the best or being number one in the way that our society does which is the way that James and John do. The way we look at life is not the way God looks at it. Our goal is to look at everything through God’s eyes and to imitate the actions of God.
The invitation to service is a big part of stewardship. Giving our time and talent is another way to express that we choose to serve others by living out this Gospel message today.
I am inviting all of us to reflect on all that God has given us… simple things like air, food, freedom, love, the beauty of Tennessee, family, friends, a job, ability to go to school and learn, ability in sports or other talents… Are we truly grateful for these things? In the spiritual life, we know that we are not grateful enough if we complain all the time. Opening ourselves up in gratitude to God for everything, allows more grace to flow in us and through us.
The next question today is: are you willing to give away in love that which you have received? This attitude of giving and not greedily clinging to it or grasping for more assures that you will have holy joy. When all members of a family or a parish or a community share this attitude and practice, the Kingdom of God can be felt in a beautiful way and attract others to it.
I know that the Body of Christ at Our Lady of Fatima is generous and living the faith and I thank you wholeheartedly. May we continue to grow together in love by giving ourselves as gifts to one another. Generosity breeds generosity.
During this stewardship appeal, I am asking you to first pray in gratitude for all that you have received as gifts. Next, I ask you to pray about making a sacrificial gift of time, talent and also of treasure to Our Lady of Fatima. I believe that the main reason for giving is NOT as we commonly think: I give because there is a need out there.
What I believe is the great reversal: I give because there is a need in here, inside me, in the divine core of my being to give, to imitate God who is love and constantly gives. Remember the Law of The Gift: our own life will increase in the measure that we give it away.