Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Feast of St Cecilia, the musician.

"When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” (Luke 21: 1 - 4).

Monday 22nd November 2021 of the 34th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cecilia. Italian. (+ 3rd century). Virgin and Martyr. St Cecilia is the patron saint of music and musicians. Her name is mentioned in the Roman Canon. Music plays a central role in the worship and liturgy of the Church. St Augustine says that to sing is to pray twice.

The Gospel today from Luke 21: 1 - 4 is not a parable but actual event, what Jesus observed in the Temple. Jesus is a great Teacher. He teaches from life's experiences and from parables.

Today I want to reflect on Tithes and Giving to God. Consider these three points:

#1. Everything we have comes from God.
#2. It is true that we can never out do God in generosity.
#3. To give God with generosity is a clear sign of our faith. Examples: The Widow in today's Gospel, Abel, Abraham, David, etc.
#4. We are not born generous givers. We learn to give.

As a Catholic I knew nothing about tithing until I ran out of money when I was building a house. I could not finish the house in the planned time. "If you want to finish this house at all, bring your tithe to God," advised my Protestant friend. Because I was desperate, I was disposed to believe. I paid my tithes to God and the house was completed at the stipulated time. God taught me a great lesson. This happened 30 years ago. Today I can not afford not to tithe. The rewards are huge. Just a few:
#1. Locusts cannot devour my money. Any attempt at this, I cry out to God and remind Him of this promise in Malachi 3.
#2. I have had minimal financial worries.
#3. Like the Widow in today's Gospel, generosity does not mean giving big. Sometimes I give $1 or $2. But I always try to give something. God says "Do not appear before me empty-handed." (Cf Deuteronomy 16: 16). I take this injunction seriously.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." (Luke 11: 9 - 10).

"I bless those whom you present to Me, lifting them into the light of My Face. I will give to each one according to his need, but also according to his readiness to receive My gifts. Those who are poor in spirit are those most ready to receive what I would give them." (IN SINU JESU, Tuesday, January 8, 2008).

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