Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 16, 2014 Cycle A
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.B.

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In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

The Cardinal’s Appeal 2014 for financial contributions to support the mission and ministry of the Archdiocese of Washington has begun. Therefore, we should remind ourselves why we give money to the Church. As Catholics, it is our obligation to contribute to the support of the Church. This is one of the precepts of the Church. Each of us has the duty to bear his or her fair share of the financial burden of the Holy See, diocese and parish.

There are two main reasons why the Church asks us for money.

First, the Church wants to educate us in Christian poverty. In the Gospel, Jesus invites his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone. He gave them the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem, who out of her poverty gave all that she had to live on.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that he has come “to fulfill.” He has come to fulfill our lives, to satisfy our thirst for happiness.

Frequently when the Church asks for money, we think that it is time to help the Church with her needs. However, it does not matter that we are helping the Church; it is the Church that is helping us. When the Church asks us for money, it is an act of mercy in order to deliver us from excessive attachment to money.

When we give a part of what we have, we are reminded that all we have is from God. We are not the owners but mere stewards. Giving helps us let go of our attachment to material things. We must not place our hope in the money we have in the bank. We need to be detached from whatever does not bring true happiness. When we give generously, we feel peace in our hearts and gratitude to God, who gives us everything. We find the wisdom that Saint Paul speaks of in the second reading: “We speak a wisdom to those who are mature, not a wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age who are passing away.”

The second reason why we should give the Church money is that there are needs in the Church that have to be supported through donations from the faithful. When we support the Church, we help her accomplish her mission. 

There are so many needs in our archdiocese that are supported with this appeal. I can give you some examples: financial assistance for seminarians (our archdiocese has eighty seminarians!), care of elderly and ailing retired priests; support for hospital chaplains, local prison ministry and the Catholic Deaf Center; support for pregnancy aid centers and other pro-life activities; support for charitable programs at over 80 locations for Catholic Charities including Anchor Mental Health and the Spanish Catholic Center; and many others ministries and services.

The Cardinal’s Appeal supports the work of the Archdiocese and is not just another special collection. Rather, it is the one time during the year that all Catholics are asked to make a significant pledge, payable over ten months, to our Archdiocese so that it can meet the spiritual, educational and temporal needs of parishes, schools and the people under its jurisdiction.

Next week at all Masses, in a recorded homily Cardinal Wuerl will be asking those who have not contributed as yet to make a commitment using the pledge envelope that will be provided during Mass.

Let us respond generously to Cardinal Wuerl’s Appeal! Let us pray for the success of this appeal. May it help us understand the true meaning of Christian poverty and meet the needs of our Church.

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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