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CMA Homily

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Wisdom 2:12, 17-20
James 3:16-4:3
Mark 9:30-37
September 23, 2012

The disciples of Jesus are discussing which of them is the greatest, not a good thing.  It’s pride and that would be a sin.  

Worse yet, they’re doing right after Jesus has been telling them about how he will be arrested and crucified but they haven’t understood.  They are concerned about themselves.  Jesus is concerned about everyone else.

We need to look beyond ourselves.  We need to look beyond the boundaries of our parish.  We need to remember that we are part of one Body of Christ.

With that in mind, it is time to begin our annual diocesan Catholic Ministries Appeal.  This is nothing new.  It’s been going on for thirty years but it’s important.  It isn’t just a matter of sending the diocese some money.  

It’s about who we are as Christians, one Body in Christ, called to proclaim the Gospel message and share God’s love.

We are called to be good stewards of our time, talent, and treasure.  The way we give of our time and talent is focused here in our county.  We give of our treasure right here too.

But we can also contribute beyond our parish.  There are many organizations that ask for contributions.  Why give to the diocese?

Some people might want to ask what does the diocese for us?

Well, first the diocese sent me here.  I hope you think that is something good!  They paid for my seminary education.  I think that is something great.  Locally, the CMA helps support our Catholic Charities office.  It provides some support to campus ministry at Cornell and Ithaca and Catholic Schools.  They provide administrative support which is especially helpful right now with both our Finance Director (Mark Jasinski) and me being new.

But we must also remember it isn’t about what we get out of the CMA.  The point is to help others.  The point is to make a difference.  That’s our theme this year – Making a Difference Every Day!

Here the video was shown in church – http://www.dor.org/index.cfm/stewardship/annual-appeal/

I’m sure you noticed the video ended with words by Bishop Clark whose retirement just became official.  While he is no longer our bishop, the diocese continues to minister and so the CMA continues.

Now, I would like to take a moment about what it will take for us to meet our CMA goal.  Last year, 343 households contributed $44,544 towards a goal just over $50,000.  This year’s goal is up for inflation and because we are doing better than some other parishes in attendance.  Our goal for this year is $52,225.

So we need to raise about $7,600 more than last year.  That might sound like a lot but I believe we can do it.  In the two previous parishes where I have worked on the CMA, we increased the contributions to the CMA by a third in one year.  That’s 33% and we only need 17%.

How do we do this?  The obvious answer is that we need to contribute more money.  I emphasis we because I will be making my own personal contribution soon.

Of course, I ask that people who contributed last year, pray about how much to contribute this year, hopefully increasing the amount.  But I know not everyone would be able to increase 17%.  Some won’t be able to increase at all.  Some might not be able to contribute at all.  I just ask that you do what you are called to in pray.

But there is another way to increase our contributions.  I said before that 343 households contributed last year.  That’s a participation rate of around 25%.  The diocesan average is 32%.  That would mean 73 more donors.  That’s a lot to ask.  But if you didn’t contribute last year, pray about it.  Please pray about it.  Every little bit helps.

Lastly, I want to be upfront.  In the coming months, the diocese will be asking for contributions towards our priest retirement fund and for the education of seminarians.  We will also be asking at some point for contributions towards some building repairs here in our parish.

For now, focus on the CMA.  Remember, if you are thinking of saving your money for later, if we don’t meet our CMA goal, the parish must make up the difference.  So pray about it and contribute according to your means.

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