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Weekly Message from our Pastor – 3/18/2018

Dear Parishioners,

We have examined the three great practices of Lent, and we are learning how to jump-start our spiritual lives by watching “A Lent to Remember”. All of this should awaken in us, not only a willingness, but even a desire to make sacrifices for God. Jesus died on the cross for me, what could I do to show the measure of my love in return? Jesus’ sacrifice is of infinite value and the things that I can offer are all very finite. So in measure there will never be anything that I can offer to God that would truly equal what He has done for me. I think many people come to this realization and then from there rationalize the idea of just totally giving up. That is faulty logic and very dangerous for your eternal health. God made us, He knows what we are capable of and expects no more, but hopes for no less. God has given what was best for us—are we willing to offer something close to “best” for God.

Looking at scripture, is it possible to determine what God considers as “best” from us. Starting at the beginning in Genesis, we have the account of Cain and Abel. It revolves around precisely this point. They both felt the need to offer something of the great goodness that God had given them back to Him. It says that Cain was a farmer and so he offered some of the produce of his fields. Abel, on the other hand, was a tender of sheep, so he offered the finest firstling of his flock. We don’t know how much fruit and vegetables Cain offered—it could have been huge! We just know it wasn’t the best he had. Abel on the other hand, offered the finest firstling of his flock. A very small, but significant offering. God was pleased with Abel’s offering and not so with Cain’s. Abel just offered one little lamb—Cain might have offered a boat load of fruits and vegetables. The story indicates that it is not so much the quantity of how much we give, but the attitude with which we give it and the amount of sacrifice it demands on our part to be realized. So in reality, as our Lord also points out, even a very poor person can be a beloved giver/donator to God if they give in a spirit of sacrifice. If we treat our tithing as a burden and give grudgingly, then we fall into the same boat as Cain, but if we give from the heart like Abel, which implies sacrifice, then we know it will be pleasing to God. If everyone in the parish gave on a sacrificial level, we would have exactly the money God wants to have to fulfill his will for us and our parish.