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Are You Ready To Share Your Time Talent Treasure?

Homily 11 03 2013
31st Sunday OT - C

Homily 11 03 2013
31st Sunday OT - C

View the Readings for this day

When we mention Stewardship, many people think of "fund-raising," "tithing," and "sacrificial giving." That is part of it, but Stewardship means much more. When you come down to it, Stewardship is really another word for "salvation." Today's Gospel illustrates this.


A man named Zacchaeus gets the chance to make a new beginning - and he responds with extraordinary generosity, extraordinary Stewardship. And Jesus says, "Today salvation has come to this house..."

Zacchaeus shows us the two steps involved in salvation...

The first step is the desire to see Jesus. Almost everyone in the world has heard about Jesus. We know that Jesus is a very important person. He is so important that we date our calendars from his birth. Next year is 2014. That means two thousand and fourteen years since Jesus' coming. Jesus is the central person in human history.

Zacchaeus recognized Jesus' importance - and he wanted to see him. What did he do? He climbed tree. That is something that usually only a child does. You would be surprised if you saw me up in a tree. For an adult to climb a tree requires humility. It also takes courage. A limb might break with disastrous consequences. But more important, a man in a tree could provoke laughter. And in the case of Zacchaeus, it would be worse. Seeing him in the tree, the townspeople would not only laugh; they make fun of him and even insult him.

Zacchaeus, after all, was a tax collector. Now, nobody enjoys paying taxes, but in Palestine a tax collector was more than someone who takes your hard earned money. A tax collector was a guy who betrayed his fellow countrymen for personal advantage. And Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector in Jericho.

It took a lot of humility - and a lot of guts - to climb that tree. Maybe some of you experienced something similar in coming to Mass this morning. You might have felt a little nervous about the neighbors: "Well, look who's going to church." But like Zacchaeus, you are here because you want to see Jesus. To see Jesus requires humility and courage.

The first step to seeing Jesus is to overcome fear - and self-importance.

But there is a second step...

Zacchaeus beautifully illustrates what we must do when we see Jesus. Before talking about that vital second step, we have to notice something. Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, but Jesus was already seeking him. He called him by name, "Zacchaeus, come down." Then he told him that he wanted to stay in his house. What Jesus was doing was offering him a new start. By his greed Zacchaeus had put himself outside the family. Jesus was welcoming him back in.

This is what is called "grace," God's incredible generosity.

There is only one logical response to God's generosity - and that is, generosity. Zacchaeus said that he would give half his possessions to the poor - and if he cheated anybody, he would pay it back four times over. There must of have been quite a line outside his house that evening.

No matter. Zacchaeus had experienced God's generosity. He knew that he could never give away too much. Before he met Jesus he was a collector. His life had become cluttered like a modern pack rat. When he met Jesus, he discovered the joy of being a steward.

You and I are in the same position as Zacchaeus. God offers us his grace, his generosity. Salvation depends on our response. As your pastor, I want to help you on the way to salvation. That is my job - and it is the best job in the world. Everyone needs salvation. It is our deepest desire. During these weeks I will be giving you some practical helps.

Last week each registered family got a letter from me explaining Stewardship. And most important, it has forms for you with ideas about Stewardship of Time, Talent and Treasure. (Don't worry: if you are not on the parish list, we have worksheets in the pews this weekend). In the pews today are small booklets with all of our activities you can choose from to understand better the opportunities in the parish.

These will help us address vital questions: How am I using my time for my relationship with God, my family and my community? Along with use of Time, comes Talents or abilities. I ask you to consider giving some of your time and talents for your parish: to help us with our worship, our outreach to others, faith formation, parish committees and groups like the helping with music, Altar Societies and Knights of Columbus.

Finally there is a section on Stewardship of Treasure: your earnings and financial resources. We will talk more about that next week when we have a testimony from a parish parishioner.

Like Zacchaeus, we want to see Jesus. That requires humility and courage. When we do find Jesus, there is only one thing we can do in face of his generosity. Like Zacchaeus, we respond to generosity - with generosity.

Notice that when Zacchaeus is finished at the table he pushes himself away from the table and says to Jesus, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much" (Luke 19:8b). Is that not exactly what each of us should be offering our Savior? He has given us his all; do we dare give anything less? "For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost." In case you are wondering, it is time now to come down from the tree.

Jesus is waiting with arms open wide. Pretty terrific stuff, isn't it? You know it is! Praise God! Zacchaeus was changed.

Zacchaeus was changed, from being greedy to generous, from selfish to selfless, from a thieving heart to thankful heart. How did this happen? What did Jesus say to him when they were alone?

I mean, Zaccheus only had to pay back what he stole plus 20%; but he wanted to pay them back 400%. He didn't have to do that, according to Old Testament law. He wanted to. 400%!!! And then he volunteered to give 50% of his goods away to the poor!!! 50%!!! He didn't have to; he wanted to. There is a huge change in the level of financial generosity within his heart, and that is what we want to focus on today as well.

In the Epistle lesson today from II Corinthians 8 and 9, the Apostle Paul encourages the church in Macedonia to excel in the gift of financial generosity, and not only to excel in the gifts of faith, and hope and love. God wants the same for our churches here in Buckley and Wilkeson; God wants you to also excel in the gift of financial generosity, like Zacchaeus, and not only in the gifts of faith, hope and love. God wants you to excel in this gift also.

Jesus didn't simply come into Zacchaeus' house that day. Rather, Jesus got into Zaccheus' ... heart ... that day. That's what changed him. No one is ever changed to be a generous person unless Jesus gets into your heart; and when Jesus gets into your heart, your life will be changed. The exact words do not matter; but Jesus in your heart does matter. It is his presence, not any special words, that changes us.

When the Spirit is right, any words will do.

I love the story. I can see it so clearly. Short little Zacchaeus wanting to see Jesus of Nazareth, the religious superstar, but all those people were in his way. Cleverly, Zacchaeus looked down the Jericho road and climbed a sycamore tree and waited, and sure enough, here came Jesus and Jesus said: "Zacchaeus...you come own...for I am coming to your ... heart ... today."

My prayer for us...is that we will recognize that stewardship is not just a season but it is to be our life-style. We like Zacchaeus...and even greater, like Jesus, can make an impact in the lives of others by the way we live out our lives...by the way we share all we have...even our means. For the cause of Christ...for the work of Jesus...for the work of love...what will you give...how much can you offer?

I am passionate about the work that I believe God is doing and will do through our people. I pray we will consider what matters most and how we may simply give so that the Good News of our risen Savior continues to be told and experienced among and within and through you and me.

We don't meet Zacchaeus again in the pages of the New Testament, so we don't know if he was able to keep his promise: "half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor." We do know that he found joy if he did: nobody finds lasting happiness hoarding money, and even the beautiful things it can buy are not enough to secure us joy. You find your joy in giving it away.


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Mass Schedule

Saint Aloysius
Tue - Fri - 8:30am
Sat - 5:00pm
Sun - 10:30am

Holy Days
8:30am & 7:00pm

First Friday
8:30am followed by Adoration until 7:55pm

- After weekday Mass
- Before Sat & Sun Mass
- Mon - 3:00pm

Sat - 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Or by appointment

Our Lady Of Lourdes
Sun - 8:30am

Before Sunday Mass

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Saint Aloysius
211 West Mason Ave.
Buckley, WA 98321
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
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Office Hours
Tue - Fri 9am - 12:00pm

Our Lady Of Lourdes
506 Ash Street
Wilkeson, WA 98396
Phone: 360-829-6515
Fax: 360-829-5190
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