The Generous Year
What use is it if someone claims he has faith but says to a brother or sister without clothing or food, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet does not give them what is necessary for their body. What use is that? Faith, if it has no works, is dead (James 2:14-17 passim).
Perhaps one day social historians will catalog 2017 as The Generous Year.
There are few among us who have not given or received during this year’s hurricanes and floods and parade of natural disasters, acts of terrorism and humanitarian catastrophes. Our response to the needs of so many has been rooted in our human compassion as well as our Christian calling.
It is a part of our identity (not simply feelings of compassion) that we live the Scripture from James quoted above or the story of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25: the sheep and the goats. The Bible is clear: even daily Mass goers may well despair of eternal life if they are not living lives committed to giving and to serving those in need.
With that in mind, now is a great time to rethink our patterns of giving. Hurricane Harvey and our common response have shown us all how transitory possessions are and how lasting are the memories of giving. So before you go online or head to the mall to purchase a trunk-load of that which is not needed (or maybe wanted), consider doing more of your shopping in places which sell the basics: groceries, toiletries, cleaning supplies. Spend your $50.00 on supplies a victim family would need, then take a photo of yourself, your family and your dog holding the goodies. Then, mail/email/text/message/drone the photo to Aunt Jane with Merry Christmas wishes and a note that you have purchased all this food/supplies for a family in need and have done it all in her name. Finally, drop the goodies at the Mercy Center or the Parish Office and know they are headed to someone who really needs them at Christmas.
There are many variations on this theme. The key words are Gospel (living out God’s own Word), need (blessing people who live in deficit, not excess) and stewardship (how to use what has been given in a way that is answerable to God).
P.S. Our parish faces an uncertain financial future, as do so many of our members. An additional way you can support the worship and ministries here: If you are an Amazon shopper (not all of us are), please use Amazon Smile. A little portion of your purchase returns here to your parish and costs you nothing. Just visit www.smile.amazon.com, log in with your regular Amazon account, and select Prince of Peace Catholic Community as your charity.