Sharing Our Treasure with Others 2022-7-31 Fr. Roberto
Homily for 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C
St. Dominic’s, Eagle Rock
July 31, 2022
Title: Sharing Our Treasure with Others
Theme: We are called to share our treasure with others, not just to keep it for ourselves.
Readings: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23; Colossians 3: 1-5; 9-11; Luke 12:13-21
In 1995, I was assigned to our Dominican parish in San Francisco; it too is called St. Dominic’s, and it is one of the most beautiful churches in California and beyond. It is a gorgeous neo-gothic church that is twice as tall as our church here, twice as long, seats over 1,000 people and has beautiful stained-glass windows, hand-carved marble altars and statues and hand-carved wood panels throughout the church. After I had been there a few months, I was talking to one of our African-American parishioners whose family had been in the parish for many, many years, and she told me that, when she was a little girl in the early 1960’s, she and her family were not allowed to attend Mass at St. Dominic’s even though they were all Catholic. She said they had to go to Mass at another Catholic church a few blocks away from St. Dominic’s that was built for the black Catholics in the neighborhood. That other church was a simple, one-story and very unattractive building.
I was stunned. It was hard for me to believe that Catholics would be that blatantly racist; it was especially hard to believe that some of my own Dominican brothers would allow African-American Catholics to be barred from entering beautiful St. Dominic’s church, and force them to go to a separate, ugly, little church to attend Mass. Those good, church-going, white Catholics and my Dominican brothers built for themselves a beautiful church that was and still is truly a treasure of architecture and a treasure for Catholics in San Francisco. But, at the same time, they had built for themselves a comfortable & secure silo; a comfortable and secure enclave in their “whites-only” church.
To me, this is the same kind of self-absorbed and exclusive thinking that Jesus is condemning in today’s Gospel parable about the rich man who thinks only of himself when he has an abundant harvest. He builds new and bigger silos where he can store up for himself a comfortable and secure treasure: a treasure that consists of a future where he will have more than enough for himself. Jesus condemns him for not even thinking about how he might share his treasure with others.
Today, I would like all of us here to consider how we can share our treasure with others: the treasure of our Catholic faith, the treasure of this beautiful church of St. Dominic’s, and, most of all, the treasure of our community spirit, love and acceptance. I would like us to share these treasures of ours especially with a group of people who have, at times, been misunderstood, rejected and excluded by the Catholic Church, by individual parishes, by individual Catholic lay people, priests, sisters and bishops, and even by their own families.
I am talking about the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ is an acronym for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer or Questioning. I imagine that most of us know people in the LGBTQ community because they are members of our own families, among our friends, neighbors, coworkers or schoolmates, and they certainly have been in the news in recent years. Now, I am aware that there are some people in the LGBTQ community who are very anti-Catholic and have even attacked the Church publicly; but many of them are not that way.
And, I am proud to say that, since March, we have had an LGBTQ support group meeting here at St. Dominic’s. Some of you might remember that there was another LGBTQ group that met here during the early 2000’s for a number of years. Our current group has been a blessing to me personally by teaching me about life and Catholicism from their experience, and they are a blessing to this parish because they are sincerely trying to live out their lives from a faith perspective. Some are LGBTQ individuals themselves while others are parents, siblings or friends of LGBTQ folks. Some are Catholic and some are not; but most importantly, they are good, loving and gentle people who are supporting one another.
I have asked members of our LGBTQ support group to speak at our Masses this weekend to share with us a little about their lives, their struggles and their faith. So, at this time, I would like to invite N., to come forward and share his/her experience with us…
…after the speaker, finish with the following if there is time:
In today’s 2nd reading, St. Paul said to us:
“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.”
In St. Paul’s time, those labels had been huge distinctions used to divide people from each other in the Jewish religion and in the Roman Empire. I believe what Paul is saying to Christians then and to us now is that those divisions and distinctions between people have been wiped away by the love of Jesus and by his sacrifice on the cross. Today, I would add that there is not black or white, Catholic or Protestant, Muslim or Jew, male or female, LGBTQ or straight; but Christ is all and in all.
My brothers and sisters, we cannot build silos of exclusion separating us from others;
instead, we must share the treasure of God’s love and our Catholic faith with everyone because all are God’s children. All are welcome.
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