I want to say something about the annual financial report,
which is included in today’s bulletin,
but that won’t be the main subject of my homily.
Once a year I address this topic because
I want you to know your pastor pays attention to such matters.
And I want you to see for yourself how everything is handled,
that your parish handles your money carefully – and where it goes.
What is given in the bulletin is only a summary;
there is a far more detailed report that is prepared every year,
and anyone who wants to see it is welcome to.
If you want to see that, or you have any questions, just let me know.
Some years it is necessary to ask your help to close a deficit;
or there are unexpected expenses that need explaining.
Despite all that is crazy in the world around us,
this year, St. Remy’s finances lately are happily boring.
So it really is just a coincidence that I’m talking about the budget
on the same Sunday Jesus says, “give all your money away”!
Thank you for your generous support,
which keeps our parish financially stable
and pays the bills for all we do at St. Remy.
I am confident you see the value of what we’re doing,
and you want to keep it going.
What the Scripture readings invite us to do is ask:
what truly is my most valuable possession?
There aren’t very many people who actually admit
that money and wealth are what matter most to them.
And yet it happens – more than we want to admit.
Not all of us to give away all our wealth.
Jesus knew that’s what the young man in front of him needed.
For the rest of us: how do we learn to love our possessions less?
Let me offer a few suggestions.
Parents, if you aren’t doing it already, think about how your children –
no matter how young they are – can learn to be less materialistic.
They may not yet know the value of money,
but I bet they have stuff they love, maybe too much?
What could they give away?
Don’t be afraid to say “no” to your kids’ requests for stuff.
My poor parents, I don’t know how they did it, but at some point –
with seven kids – they learned not to be manipulated by our dramatics.
My dad was actually fine with me having whatever I wanted.
He would smile and say, “save your money and buy it!”
May I also suggest trying to have a budget.
Financial advisors always say, “pay yourself first,”
meaning, save for the future.
As your soul advisor, I suggest you pay God first.
Have some idea of what you will give away, in money or time.
It doesn’t have to be a large amount; start small.
I know a man who has been tremendously successful in business
and years ago, he decided he would plan things
so that he gave all his money away by the time he died.
How he’s working that out I don’t know.
But one consequence was that he started
giving away more than he had before.
It changed how he thought about money.
He started thinking more about the good it could do for others;
and above all, about the true treasure he has in Jesus Christ.
The lesson here isn’t just about money,
it’s about no longer being blind to whatever we value more than Jesus.
And seeing the young man turn away raises another point:
you and I never know what the road not taken would lead to.
If I give up a bad habit, I realize my life will be better,
but how much better?
If I no longer spend hours absorbed with the Internet,
where will that time go instead? To my faith?
To my spouse or my kids? What difference might that make?
Once again: what is really the most important thing to you?
Who is most important?
What will you give up to have that treasure?