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(Part 6)


November 25, 2019
Today’s gospel: Luke 21:1-4

Today we have the familiar story of the widow’s mite. Wealthy people were putting their offerings into the treasury, and a poor widow put in two small coins. Jesus commended her as having given more than the others, because they gave from their surplus wealth while she gave from her poverty.

Financial giving has always been a challenge for Catholics, and even in CFC-FFL it was a challenge, as many of our brethren do not give anything, or give little in relation to what they should be giving. In truth, the pocketbook is the last to be surrendered to the Lord, and greater generosity in financial giving is a sign of growing holiness.

What reasons do we often hear why our brethren do not give, much less give the prescribed tithe, that is, 10%? One major reason is that they do not have enough for their own need, or that they are poor, or that they are low wage earners, barely scrapping by each day. The lesson of the widow’s mite demolishes all these false arguments. The widow gave “from her poverty” and “offered her whole livelihood.” (v.4b). Did Jesus stop her, saying she needed her two small coins more? He did not. Rather, he commended her and raised her as a model for financial generosity.

Note the basic elements of this short story. (1) She was dirt poor, and as a widow, had no one to care for her and was neglected in society at that time. (2) She gave everything she had, unmindful of her own need. (3) She was detached from material possessions and put her total dependence on God. (4) For her, it was God first, then whoever might be helped by the Church next, and only lastly(or not even being in her priorities), herself.

We are now Missionary Families of Christ. Our charism is evangelization founded on family renewal. We are committed to mission. And indeed there are very many opportunities to do mission, in our own countries as well as abroad. But what holds us back is money. What could we do with more money?

We need to have more fulltimers. Most of our brethren serve with their spare time. We need workers who will be available 24/7 for mission.

  • We want to send out many missionaries. This is not about short-term mission, which many are doing now, but about being sent to other countries for much longer periods of time, such as two years and beyond.
  • We need to pay for travel and attendant expenses for mission. Oh, if only our mission workers could just be borne on angels’ wings. But no, we have to buy a ticket to travel.
  • We want to do more for the poor.

Actually, if every member gave something, even two small coins, we would have more than enough to do more massive mission. How much more if they gave a tithe?! We have an International Mission Fund (IMF), which is over and beyond members’ contributions for our local or national work. Is it too much in the Philippines to ask those who are not yet giving to give just 20 pesos a month to the IMF? Is it too much in the Western world to ask those who are not yet giving to give just one or two dollars a month to the IMF? NO ONE IS TOO POOR TO NOT BE ABLE TO GIVE SUCH.

Let us admit it. If you cannot give even this widow’s mite (or preferably more than what she gave), what does it make of you?

  • You do not care about the life and mission of the community to which you belong.
  • You do not care about the salvation of many more souls, which the work of MFC is about.
  • Your priority is yourself (and perhaps your family) rather than God. If so, as Jesus himself says, you are not fit to be his disciple. So who then would you be? Why are you still in Christian community?
  • You are unwilling to give up some of your regular coffee intake or one of the family meals in a restaurant for the sake of the mission. All we are asking, for those who are not giving, is a pittance compared to what God has blessed you with (even if you consider yourself poor).
  • You do not understand how finances work in the Kingdom of God. Everything belongs to Him, and whatever we give is simply a small return, to be used for the work of the Kingdom. Through the prophet Malachi, God challenges us to tithe and experience a flood of blessings from Him. I dread to consider the converse: if we do not give back to Him, might God fit our financial situation to our lack of generosity, and keep us in poverty? It is up to you.

God has raised us as MFC to do mission to the ends of the earth. Let every MFC member support our work with his/her finances. Be generous, as God has been generous to you.

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