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26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – Homily

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Ezekiel 18:25-28
Philippians 2:1-11
Matthew 21:28-32
September 28, 2014
What does the word “Church” mean to you?

We call the buildings we worship in “churches” but is “church” just a building?

Without a doubt, our church buildings are a focal point of our faith.  The design, layout, and artwork say something about what we believe.  Every Catholic Church has a Crucifix in the sanctuary as Jesus’ death is central to our faith.  The altar is always central in the layout of a church as the place upon which we celebrate the Eucharist as Christ’s sacrifice for us.

Church buildings are important to our faith lives but our faith is not limited to a physical building.  When we speak of our parish as Immaculate Conception Church it is not just our building but the people and faith to which we speak.

We are a community of believers, called, as Paul writes, to be of the same mind and the same love, united in heart and thinking one thing.

As church we are called to look beyond ourselves, not acting out of selfishness or vainglory but in humility, the same humility that Jesus showed in becoming human and dying on the Cross for us.

What is the attitude we live with?

Is our faith part of our general attitude of life?

Do we think about life in terms of what we don’t have or what we do have?  Do we spend more time lamenting what we don’t have or thanking God for what we do have?

If we spend our time lamenting what we don’t have, we may be selfishness, thinking we need to hoard what we do have to take care of our own needs.

If we recognize how much we do have, then even when we don’t have everything we might want, we feel blessed and foster an attitude that calls us to share the blessings that we do have.

When we focus on what we do have rather than what we lack we can live with an “Attitude of Gratitude.”

I could say a lot about having an “Attitude of Gratitude”.  In fact, last Fall I did a presentation with this very title.  I’m not going to repeat that presentation here as it lasted about an hour but you can watch it online by going to the videos section of our parish website.

Let summarize how I see an “Attitude of Gratitude” in a couple of sentences.  To have such an attitude is to realize how blessed we are and that God is the source of those blessings.  Having an “Attitude of Gratitude” means recognizing that God doesn’t give us blessings simply for ourselves but to share with others who are less fortunate.

This means looking beyond ourselves and realizing we are put of something much bigger than anything we see right here.  I’ve already talked about our parish community as “church” but as “church” we are also part of a diocese, called to work together to proclaim the gospel in word and by caring for one another.

We support the diocese in prayer, in action by helping others, and yes, with our financial contributions.  Many of you have probably received this week the mailing for this year’s Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA).

This year’s theme is “Attitude of Gratitude”.  We can be thankful and show gratitude for the support our parish receives from our diocese.

One might ask what we can be thankful to the diocese for.  Well, for instance in the last year, the diocese upgraded all our computers in the school and church to bring them up to current standards.  We paid for new computers, some parts to upgrade some computer, and software but the diocese did the work without charging us for the labor.

In the last couple of years, both at the church and the school, we have hired new people.  With every one of these hirings, we have received support from the diocese.  The diocese keeps us up on regulations and administers the benefits package.

These things may not be ministry but they are vital for us to be able to do our ministries.

Our Principal, Mr. Mills is frequently calling the diocesan schools office with questions or for support.

Just this summer Bishop Matano eliminated fees for annulments.  Much of the work of the Tribunal for annulments and other items is funded by the CMA.

I mention these things as things we can be thankful for but we shouldn’t view as simply getting back what we pay in.  It’s about helping others.  For instance a little over 10% of the CMA contributions goes to support the work of Catholic Charities.

To give you the basic numbers last year we collected $54,000 and this year our goal is up just over 2% to $55,385, a gain I very much believe we can make.  People increasing their contributions will help but I must note that last year we had about thirty fewer households contribute.  If we can gain thirty households and others keep contributing, we can make our goal.

Those are the numbers but remember it isn’t about dollars.  It’s about living with an “Attitude of Gratitude.”

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