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Message from our Pastor – 8/19/2018

Dear Parishioners,

As we continue our conversation about tithing, I thought I would list for all of the passages that refer to tithing in scripture:
Genesis 14:20; Genesis 28: 20-22; Numbers 18:21; Deuteronomy 12: 5-11; Deuteronomy 14: 22-29; Deuteronomy 26: 12-15; 2 Chronicles 31: 5-12; Nehemiah 10: 37-38; Nehemiah 12: 44; Nehemiah 13: 5-12; Amos 4:4; Malachi 3: 8-10 and St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 7: 5-9.

So that gives us a lot of material for our Lectio Divina (see the “Formed” as we pray that the Holy Spirit guides us in our discernment about our tithing. Last week we spoke about how it is God’s Will that we tithe, and an integral part of our path to heaven and perfect eternal happiness.

I mentioned 1 Timothy 6: 17-19 as a particular passage to contemplate for the week. This week I have a longer one, but it is also one that is much easier to understand. Matthew 25: 31 -46. Here Jesus makes a very strong case about helping the less fortunate among us and how our eternal happiness is dependent on this. As you go through the passages above about tithing, you will find especially in Numbers 18: 21-24 that the tithing is to go to the Levites. The Levites were the descendants of Aaron and his brothers, whom Moses, by command of the Lord, ordained the priests of the Israelite people. They conducted the services in the Meeting Tent (our present day sanctuary of the church) and offered sacrifice on behalf of the people. In the New Testament, Jesus replaced the Levite priesthood with the priesthood of the 12 Apostles, and the sacrifice of animals with the eternal sacrifice of his own body. So instead of having to go to Jerusalem every year and offer an unblemished one-year-old sheep for the remission of our sins, we come weekly to Mass and witness the eternal passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus through the signs and symbols of the Mass giving us an opportunity to offer our own sacrifices together with his. That is precisely the time of the Mass when the basket is passed around. Many devout parishioners who have understood the power of this sign, tell me that even though they do “E-tithing” that they still throw a few dollars in the basket to truly participate both physically and spiritually in the sacrifice of Christ. Our tithing is connected to the priesthood, and through the sanctifying grace of the sacraments and the living word of God that is proclaimed at every Mass grows forth our love for God which is charity and that love is then expressed in our love of neighbor. The source of the grace which enables us and motivates us to charity is the Holy Eucharist which Vatican II tells us is the source and summit of all Christian life and activity. So we contradict God, if we say well I can give to various organizations that help the poor for my tithing without giving to the Church. As you contemplate these passages of scripture, you will see that God doesn’t offer us an “either…or” but requires a “both…and”.