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Reflection: Why do we need to talk about Sacrificial Giving? Jun 21, 2024

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Fr Josh Photo
Fr Josh Photo

Why do we need to talk about Sacrificial Giving?

During the season of Lent last year (February/March 2023), Fr Francis and I preached a two-week homily series in each worshipping community on sacrificial giving. The result of that preaching series was that people responded, and responded in such a way that allowed us to do exactly what the Lord is inviting us to do: hire a Mission Coordinator, Beth Davies. It was always my intention to preach about sacrificial giving annually – not just because increasing our income allows us to engage more fully in the mission we’ve been given, but because talking about sacrificial giving normalises what can be viewed as a taboo subject in Catholicism.

Our mission – to be a vibrant community that actively accompanies people to encounter Jesus – is one that costs money. Indeed, the Bible makes it perfectly clear that both Jesus’ and St Paul’s   missionary journeys costed money, and that people actively supported them by giving to the cause. These people saw the utter need in what Jesus, and subsequently, St Paul, were doing and thus experienced buy-in to the mission of spreading the Good News.

The hiring of Beth Davies as a full time Mission Coordinator allows us to begin investing in the most important aspect and reason for our existence as a parish: to evangelise/make disciples/spread the Good News. Please hear it from me as gently as possible: our mission is not, and     never has been, to simply celebrate Mass. While Mass/Eucharist is the highest form of worship, its purpose is to channel God’s grace in such a way that fuels the baptised, who receive Eucharist, to “Go, and Make Disciples” (Mt 28:19). In receiving Eucharist, we become what we receive (Jesus) so that we can go and make others into the likeness of Jesus.

Beth’s role, therefore, is not so much a doing role in the context of evangelisation – this role belongs to us, all the baptised – but one of leadership and coordination. In a parish such as ours, with 11 different Mass communities, having someone like Beth to lead us in doing what we are baptised to do is utterly essential. Her primary responsibilities at this early stage (she has only been here for 12 weeks), are the coordination of Alpha (our parish’s primary tool for evangelisation), the mentoring of each of our six Ministry Leadership Team leaders, and the identification and onboarding of one or two primary pastoral leaders of every worshipping community. These pastoral leaders will eventually make up the Faith Communities Council, who will empower each community to function according to our one mission and thus work toward unity in our parish because, though we are many parts, we are all one body (1 Cor 12:12).

Starting next weekend, and for two weeks in a row, we will be talking about sacrificial giving during the homily. For some priests, this is a scary subject to preach about – indeed, it will be      Fr Gerard’s first time. Please be gentle if you feel compelled to offer feedback. We are all in this mission together and while different people have different roles, our primary role is to love one another – in our words, thoughts and deeds. May God bless us in our capacity to hear the Lord’s invitation to a greater sense of trust: that what we have been given, we are merely stewards of, and that it is more than enough (cf. Lk 12:48).

 

Fr Josh 

 

 

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