Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Solidarity - Week 2
November 9, 2014
Last week, I began a new homily series entitled Solidarity.
I began by talking about solidarity in prayer. This week, I would like to focus on something that flows from prayer: solidarity of material goods: financial resources.
Considering the theme of the Gospel, it might seem strange to talk about money. After all, Christ threw the moneychangers out of the temple! It seems like Jesus is saying that we should only focus on spiritual things. Is that really the message Jesus intends to send? Remember, Jesus’ zeal for the Temple causes him to drive out the moneychangers. The Temple was a stone and mortar building-a real, physical place where God meets his people. In cleansing the temple, Jesus is really showing his care for that material reality.
Today, we celebrate the dedication of a specific building-the Lateran Basilica in Rome. It is the Cathedral Church of Rome. Since the Holy Father is also the Bishop of Rome that means it is the Pope’s church, and, therefore, the parish church for all Catholics in the world. In his role as pastor of the Lateran Basilica, Pope Francis unites us to St John Lateran. We are in solidarity with the universal church.
We need that solidarity-with the Church, and each other. The feast All Saints and the Commemoration of All Souls reminds of that solidarity and our need to live out that solidarity in prayer. From that prayer, solidarity in material goods and financial resources should flow.
Some families are going through hard times. Others, though, have been very blessed. There is a saying: No one is so poor that he has noting go give, and no one is so rich that he cannot receive. We need each other.
The students in our Edge middle school faith formation program have been learning a lot about the Corporal works of mercy. They have learned that feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and sheltering the homeless are essential, because the poor are also our brothers and sisters, and we are responsible for taking care of them. We have also learned that we don’t have to be rich or grown up to help a brother or sister in need. We have learned that many people have no clothes, or food, or a place to call home. We also learned ways of helping them that even a person with little to no money could do. I would like to challenge every young person here today to think about how you can the poor. Young people can help the poor in many ways: giving away clothes, books, or toys that are no longer used. Perhaps you could set aside a part of your allowance to buy food, clothing, or toys for a needy boy or girl this Christmas. Pray, and talk to your mom and dad about what you can do to help someone in need this year.
For the adults, it is also important for us to remember our own solidarity with others, especially the poor. One of the best ways for us to live out this solidarity is by financially supporting our parish; Prince of Peace contributes a lot of money to community organizations that care for the poor, all because of your financial support. There are, of course, ministries of the parish that directly serve the poor. One ministry that one would not normally connect with service to the poor is the funeral ministry. As you all know, Prince of Peace has many funerals. Some of those who seek out our funeral ministry cannot afford the costs associated with the funeral rituals. We, of course, do not deny them that ministry. Because of your generous contributions, we at Prince of Peace are to provide funeral masses free of charge to families in that situation. Your financial solidarity with Prince of Peace Parish allows this community to care for those families and the souls of their loved ones. In the month of November, the month of the dead, it is good for us to remember that.
I issued a challenge to our young people to think about how they can show their solidarity with their less than fortunate brothers and sisters. I would like to issue our adults a similar challenge: consider your own financial solidarity, especially with the poor. When you think about it, ask yourself this question: What is the state of my financial giving? When I think about my own financial giving, I think about four things: is it planned, proportionate, sacrificial, and thankful? Many here give generously. Some are able to give two percent of their income, while others give ten percent-the full tithe. Some people strive to give five percent to the parish and five percent to other charities, while others give the entire ten percent to the Church. Please know that we appreciate your generosity! Remember what we heard earlier: no one is so poor that he has nothing to give, nor so rich that he cannot receive. The challenge I put before you today (and myself as well) is this: think about the material blessings God has given you, and thank Him for them. Then ask Him to show how he wants you to share them with your brothers and sisters in need.
Your financial solidarity helps us as a parish to fulfill our mission, and it blesses you and your family. In the first reading Ezekiel describes a vision of water trickling from the Temple. He goes a thousand cubits (about 500 yards) and the water reaches his ankles. Another thousand and its knee-deep, then waist deep and finally so deep he has to swim. So it is with our Stewardship of Treasure. It may seem small, but if we give from the heart, if we love God's Temple, our solidarity will grow and become a very healing river.
So far, we have reflected on solidarity in prayer and in financial resources. Next week, we will talk about another aspect of solidarity as we hear the parable of the talents. Stay tuned.
Today, we see Jesus’ zeal for the physical temple, and we reflect on the material blessing God has given us. How can you and I share those blessings so that our parish can become more dynamic and better serve others, especially the poor? Remember what St. Paul says, “You are the Temple of God.” That Temple, the Church, is not abstract. You and I are the Church, the Temple. If you take care of God’s temple, He will take care of you.