03/17/2019 - "GIVE TO THE MOST HIGH AS HE HAS GIVEN TO YOU, GENEROUSLY"

“GIVE TO THE MOST HIGH AS HE HAS GIVEN TO YOU, GENEROUSLY”

As we saw last weekend, generosity is a key to unleashing the Gospel! The more we become aware of how generous the Lord has been with us, how He has loved us, the more our heart overflows with joy and praise.

REMEMBERING WHO GOD IS AND HIS MIGHTY DEEDS LEADS TO GENEROSITY

Moses showed us one of the founts of generosity: a heart that recognizes who the Lord is, and all He has done for us, is a heart that overflows with generosity. It is important for us to recall and reflect on who God is and all He has done for us. Moses, as a good shepherd and a good father in faith, frequently reminded the people of Israel to remember the mighty and saving deeds of the Lord on their behalf. For the Israelites, the generosity that flowed from their hearts took the shape of the offering of their best to the Lord: they would bring the Lord the first fruits of all the produce of their soil. When we respond to God’s generosity by being generous ourselves, it always flows back to us in the form of abundant blessings!

CONTACT WITH GOD’S WORD LEADS TO FAITH IN OUR HEARTS!

St. Paul in his letter to the Romans taught us how God’s Word, the Bible, is one of the best ways for us to reflect on who God is and all He has done for us. When we immerse our lives in Scripture, when we are generous with the time we give to the Lord in prayerful reading of Scripture, our hearts begin to overflow with gratitude and generosity. The Bible helps us to both believe in the Lord, to believe in His saving deeds, and to do this in our heart. It’s important and necessary to understand these truths in our mind, but once we embrace them in our heart, our heart overflows with words of praise!

GOD’S WORD RENEWS AND CHANGES US

It’s for this reason that our Archbishop insists on the importance of daily contact with God’s Word to fulfill our mission to unleash the Gospel. He teaches that daily contact with God’s Word helps us to get to know and love Jesus more and this growth in our faith and love renews and changes us. If you’ve noticed certain patterns in your life where you keep getting in a rut and things get old, God’s Word is a lifeline to experience the newness and joy of each new day and challenge.

IF WE DON’T FIGHT, OUR HEARTS ARE ROBBED OF PEACE AND JOY!

In the Gospel, our loving Savior showed us by His example that our life is indeed a battle. If you are unaware of the battle that your enemy wages against you and your family, there’s a good chance that you are losing that battle, and that is never a good thing. When we are not generous with the time we give to our Lord and to our relationship with Him, our hearts and minds become filled with the noise and spirit of this world. The temptations and the spirits of this world take up residence in our hearts as unwanted guests. Whether it be a spirit of sadness, despair, confusion, anger, indifference, lust, greed, or frustration, these unwanted guests rob us of our joy and keep peace far from our hearts.

GOD’S WORD IS A REFUGE, SHIELD AND SWORD!

But, there is Good News! Jesus taught us by His own Life that God’s Word is a refuge, a shield, and a mighty sword against the temptations and lies of the evil one. Jesus rebuked and crushed the temptations of the evil one with God’s Most Holy Word. Remember, our Father wants to fill our hearts and minds with Jesus, with His light, power, love and mercy. Daily contact with God’s Word, especially the Gospel, does precisely this!

THREE CHAPTERS OF ST. JOHN’S GOSPEL FOR EACH WEEK OF LENT

During the Holy Season of Lent, I want to encourage you to prayerfully read three chapters of St. John’s Gospel each week. Hopefully, this past week, you read the first three chapters. This week, I encourage you to read chapters 4-6. As you pick up your bible and sit down to prayerfully read the gospel, make the prayer of St. Paul your own. Ask our Father to reveal His Son to you. As our hearts become filled with Jesus and His light and love, may that very same light and love shine forth upon our families and all those people we come in contact with!

Even amid Lent we live in the light of Easter, and every Sabbath celebrates salvation! May we remember to pray for our brothers and sisters and thank God for being all we ever need.

Fr. Michael