This guy is building a full scale Millenium Falcon. And to think some guys waste their time rebuilding old muscle cars!
At our parish, we’ve been discussing why catholics (typically) don’t tithe, but for our protestant neighbors, it’s a way of life. I suppose there are many answers. I am from a generation who remembers that it was our grandparents who built our parish churches, in many instances with their own blood, sweat, and tears. When the church needed, they gave of time talent AND treasure. Our parent’s generation gave also, and I give what I can. But I find that my relationship is different from what my grandparents experienced.Maybe because they all came to this country together, knew and loved each other. They grew up together. Times have changed our relationships. People move in and out of neighborhoods more frequently, mostly because of a parent and their job. We go away to college in a second community, then get a job and settle in a third. So for me, my parish is not the one I grew up in, and I think that makes me look at my parish differently than my grandfather looked at his.
But in my thirty three year experience of being a catholic, I can not once, recall hearing a homily about tithing. Ever. At least we have catholic TV and radio to teach us, but the people who listen to catholic radio are likely the ones keeping our parishes alive. I believe it’s a lack of understanding what tithing is, that makes it so foreign a concept. And people in general are so stubborn especially when it comes to money. I wonder if there is a fear that people will walk out if they were asked to consider giving 10% of their paycheck. Every week. Well, it’s not really just about the paycheck.
Today at mass, a verse stuck out above all other verses. I have been trying my best to bring a mass journal every week and asking “God, show me one way in this Mass that I can become a-better-version-of-myself this week!” And today that one way as taken from the first [very short] reading:
“Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” -Genesis 14:20
There it is. In one line, tithing. It’s not just money, it’s everything.
So for me, I need to look at how I spend my day, what do I give God? Do I play more PS3 than pray? Do I complain about things in my life more than I thank God for the blessings I have received? Do I spend more money on gadgets and goodies than I need to? Do I stuff my face full of food, and neglect my neighbor who is hungry?
This will be a good week of prayer for me, if I can stick with it. Pray for me, I’ll pray for you.
My grandfather (Dido [GEE-DOO] in Ukrainian) is ill. The human heart can handle only so much, and it’s a wonder that he’s still with us after numerous heart attacks. The past 3 weeks for him have not been good and his health has deteriorated. Yet even now as he nears the end of a rich life, he is thankful for the situation he is in. “Oh well. I am lucky. It could be worse”, he’s said on a few occasions recently.
Indeed it could be. But as he nears the end of his life, I look at what he’s taught me. He grew up poor in the Ukraine and his father died before he had a chance to know him. As a young man he was taken from his home by Germans to fight for them. Recalling this event he said that, “it’s the best thing that happened to me” as the journey that started by being taken by Germans ended up leading him to Auburn, NY. He may not put it this way, but it is evident to me, “God’s ways are not our ways.” So often I’ve taken much of my life for granted. A life I truly don’t deserve. But in times like these, one looks at the bigger picture and can appreciate what led to me being where I am today. And I am thankful. It was hard for me to say Thank You. But given the fact that he’s so hard of hearing made the encounter quite humorous.
Steve Jobs quotes have been floating around quite a bit since his death. Given the circumstances my family faces, this one stands out: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” My grandpa was a poor farm boy and had nothing to lose but his family. And I’m not sure if he ever saw his mother again. But he was grateful for the opportunity to come to America, and it led to a better life for me.
But what about me? What do I have to lose? I’m going to die someday. If I don’t keep that in mind, then I start taking every day for granted, even though it’s a gift. It’s so easy these days to take things for granted, and it’s when I do that I find my relationship with God at it’s worst. Matthew Kelly asks us to look at our lives. Every decision can lead us to be the best-version-of-ourselves or not. I’ve made some bad decisions and I still do every day. Nobody’s perfect. However Dido has taught me not to take anything for granted. To live every day as if it could be my last. To love my family more. To be better at all I set out to do. To not fear anything. I will try my best.
Steve Jobs tried being the best Steve Jobs he could be. It was hard work and he is truly an inspiration. Dido tried to be the best Nick he could be. We all have different roles in God’s plan. Most people are not called to change the world. Most people are called to change their world. My dido did that.
Please keep my family in your prayers.