Our gifts of thanksgiving allow us to do God’s work
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
This weekend is our Discipleship of Treasure weekend. As we did with our Discipleship of Faith and Prayer and Discipleship of Time and Talent weekends, we will promise to give back to the Lord in Thanksgiving for everything He gives us. Our commitment comes from a need to give out of gratitude. In Making Stewardship a Way of Life, co-author Mila Glodava gives a great analogy that I think parents especially will understand. She tells the story of a time her son stepped off the schoolbus, saw a dandelion and gave it to her saying, “I love you, mommy.” She provided everything for her son. She had no need for a dandelion. The gesture was simply an expression of love. “This is also true with God. If we have a deep relationship with Him we will want to express our love for him by giving our time, our talent, and our treasure” (Making Stewardship a Way of Life. 82)
How do we give to those we love? By giving the leftovers? No! By giving our best. That’s why when we give to God, we give our first and best ten percent. “You shall take some first fruits of the various products of the soil which you harvest from the land which the Lord, your God, gives you, and putting them in a basket, you shall go to the place which the Lord, your God, chooses for the dwelling place for his name” (Dt. 26:2) I understand that if you’re not already giving ten percent, it’s a big jump. It requires a lot of trust, and maybe you are not there yet. That’s okay. God is patient. So I invite you to take small steps. Begin by including God in your financial planning. Maybe this year you are thinking of buying a new house, a new car, a new TV, going on a vacation. Where is God in this? How much of what He is giving you is for Him? Can you give Him the amount you make in your first hour of work? In a 40-hour work week, that’s slightly more than two percent. It’s a start.
Every time you give to God, you are making it possible to do His work. Think of all the works of mercy Queen of Peace does through the different ministries - giving a warm meal to the homeless every weekday, giving them food baskets, ID cards and bus tickets; rental and utility assistance to families in need; diapers, formula, and other necessities to mothers in need; teaching English and preparing immigrants for their citizenship test; visiting the sick; preparing couples for a Christian, life-giving marriage; teaching religious education to more than a thousand kids; baptizing hundreds of kids each year and welcoming them into the Church as children of God, and so much more. This mission is made possible because of the many of you that continually say yes to giving back to God through His Church.
The gifts we promise to God this weekend are part of our ongoing journey as His disciples. We began making these pledges last year at Queen of Peace. This year, we have an opportunity to renew or increase our promise, or make one for the first time, if you didn’t last year.
Keep in mind that this fall, we will begin a capital campaign to build a new parish center. While the pledges we make for this wonderful project are separate from the pledges we’re making this weekend, we are doing so for the same purpose - bringing the love of Christ to all. To continue the work our ministries do, we need both the resources and the adequate space - a place for our youth to call their own, where they feel at home in the Church; a place where we can show our love and support for the poor; a nice place where our grieving families can be together, a nursery where our young families feel safe leaving their kids. It is fundamental to continue our ministries and be able to do even more.
As you think about the pledges you’ll make today - both this weekend, and this coming fall - begin thinking about your blessings. God is never outdone in generosity and He gives us much, much more than we deserve.
Father Felix P. Medina-Algaba