Thursday, February 27, 2014

Generosity (with help from Matthew Kelly's "Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic"): Daily Mass Homily--Thursday, February 27th, 2014

           I’m currently reading Matthew Kelly’s Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic (he is the one who wrote Rediscover Catholicism which we gave out last year).  In it, he shares research he has done about Catholics in the United States.  Originally he wanted to see if the Church followed the 20-80 model of business—that 20% of people in a business do 80% of the work, contribute 80% of the finances, etc.  What he found was that only 7% of Catholics make up 80% of volunteer hours and revenue in the average parish.  While this is alarming, Kelly sees this as a great opportunity to wake the sleeping giant of the Church.  Imagine if we could get 1% more involvement at St. John’s?
            He also shares that these dynamic Catholics (in the 7%) have four qualities in common: prayer, study, generosity and evangelization. 
            I bring this up because of one of his most surprising lines (which Fr. Rich will appreciate) in his section on generosity.  While many complain about priests talking too much about money, Kelly states he wants to hear more.  Jesus himself frequently taught about money, as it can be either tremendous gift or harmful obstacle in our faith.  That said, Kelly maintains that we priests shouldn’t bring up money issues only when we need it for a particular project.  Rather, he wants to hear more about detachment from money.
            St. James gives a chilling reminder of the detriment of greed: “Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries.  Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire.  Note that being generous has nothing to do with personal finances.  The rich person St. James wrote about was selfish and greedy.  Yet a rich person may be very generous.  A poor person may cling to every dollar selfishly.
            Kelly also connects the generous with the grateful.  No matter the individual’s budget, the generous Catholic recognized the blessings God gave them and responded by giving back to God and neighbor.  May we be grateful for all of God’s blessings and be more generous in response.

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