September, 24, 2017
Two weeks ago I began writing about how God initiates the relationship with us, and that he always gives us the best, especially His Son, Jesus, his “firstborn” and the “firstfruits” of those who will be raised from the dead. Last week I wrote that our proper response is to give back to God our own firstfruits – traditionally known as a “tithe”. This was set aside for God as recognition that everything came from God, Who has dominion over everything and provided what we have.
In a similar way, we are asked to give a tithe to God of our time. He has given us six days on which to work and acquire what we need to survive, and then asks us to set one day aside for rest and worship. In the third commandment God tells us to “observe the Sabbath and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8) If we want God to bless the work we do on six days of the week, we should make it a priority to gather with other disciples around the Lord on the first day of the week!
We do this because God has something to say to us in the readings, or perhaps in a hymn, or through a prayer. Our attendance with our kids in tow, or with our walker or cane may be an encouragement to someone who has really struggled about whether to come to church or not. I know some people find it very difficult to get to Mass because they work on the weekend. Our society does not promote the Sabbath, so it really is a hard choice for some people to get to Sunday Mass, and for others it can feel like yet one more demand on their precious time.
But remember what Jesus has promised us: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) What are “these things” to which Jesus is referring? All the things we are so anxious about: having enough food and drink and clothing – representing all that is necessary for life. Jesus says, ‘seek to do God’s will in your life; put Him first, and you will not worry about having enough.’ This does not mean you’ll have everything our consumer culture says you must have. It means your perspective about what is essential must change. The richest person on earth isn’t the one who has the most. The richest person is the one who has enough.