26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Amos 6:1a, 4-7
Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Today Jesus speaks about the rich man who wore fine garments and dined sumptuously each day. This in and of itself won’t be all bad but he did it seemingly oblivious to the poor man Lazarus lying at his door covered in sores.
People acting like this is nothing new. Writing a few hundred earlier, Amos speaks about those who laid in “beds of ivory” and had the “best oils” while being complacent to the needs of others as Israel was collapsing.
Are we complacent? Are we aware of others? I’m grateful that we have some parishioners who are very generous giving of their time, talent, and treasure to help in our parish.
In the psalm we hear about how the Lord secures justice, gives food, and raises up those who were bowed down. God helps us and when we help others we are all “Raised in Christ.”
How much do we look beyond ourselves? How much do we look beyond those we see every day? Remember that the rich man was oblivious to Lazarus. After they both died, they were separated by a great chasm, Lazarus in Heaven and the rich man in Hell.
Do we live like we are alone in the world or do we live mindful of how we are part of much larger than ourselves? To me, one of the great gifts of being part of the Catholic Church is that we are not individuals, we are no just part of one parish. We are part of a “universal” (catholic means universal) church that is much bigger than what we see in human terms in one little parish.
We are St. Michael’s parish and we will celebrate our parish feast day this week but we are also part of the Diocese of Rochester. Sometimes we don’t feel connected to the diocese apart from the fact that Bishop Matano leads our diocese.
What might ask what does the diocese do for us?
Well, in terms of community, the diocese very much supports the work of Catholic Charities in our community. For the parish, do you know that the diocese does all the work to set up and maintain our computers and we just pay for equipment and materials? Do you know that the diocese helps us with all the rules and regulations from the government that keep changing that we need to follow for our finances and administration?
What else does the diocese do for our parish? Our diocese provides the priests for our parishes. The diocese paid for my entire education in seminary. Since becoming a priest the diocese has supported me with continuing education in leadership development. In short, I am here because the diocese makes it possible for me to be here.
The diocese does support us. With this in mind, it is the time of the year when we start our annual Catholic Ministries Appeal. You may have already received your letter from Bishop Matano announcing the theme of this year’s campaign, “Raised in Christ.” We are all called to stop being complacent and to help each other. When we help each other physically and spiritually, we are all “Raised in Christ.”
We help others in our direct support of Catholic Charities and our Community Food Closet to people in physical need. We do it spiritually in our faith formation programs.
We are also called to support our diocese to do the same beyond our parish boundaries. In supporting the CMA, you also support our national bishops’ conference as well as the work of Pope Francis.
Your contributions to the CMA help make it possible for our diocese to no longer charge annulment fees to make it easier to help those dealing with broken marriages.
The CMA makes up about 60% of the entire diocesan budget. It is vital to the work of the diocese. For instance, do you know that a little over 10% of the money raised in the CMA goes to Catholic Charities?
I don’t know if you aware of it but our parish has a history of not making its goal. Last year the goal was around $51,600. The total raised was a little less than $37,000. When a parish doesn’t meet its goal, it pays the difference out of its general budget. That means we sent a check to the diocese for a little over $14,000.
Now the good piece of news here is our diocese has lowered our goal for this year to $45,750, a decreased of nearly $6,000. That’s the good news. The bad news is compared to last year that would still leave us almost $9,000 short of our goal.
That’s a lot but I believe we can do it. This is the fourth parish I have served in since my ordination. In each of the three parishes I have served in before, we stepped up our promotion of the CMA and raised the total given in a year by amounts of $8,000 or more.
We can do this. It means we all have to dig a little deeper. We need people who regularly contribute to the CMA and are able to increase their contribution. We need more people to donate. Every little bit helps from the $5 donation to the $5,000 donation.
As I prepared my homily for today, I went online to our diocesan website and gave my contribution online. You can contribute online or by check in the mail. All registered parishioners should get a mailing from the diocese. If you don’t starting next week we will have donation envelopes available in church.
I ask you to please prayerfully consider what you can give. Every little bit helps. Some can give more. Some can’t. Give what you can. It’s important to our diocese. It’s important to our parish. It’s important to me. When you give, it shows me you believe in what we are trying to do. None of us is perfect but we strive to do the work of Christ.