Pastor's Page

Dear OLPH,
We are in week 4 of our message series, Mercy and Our Response - one of the themes woven through these weeks with the Gospel of Luke. If you ever miss a letter, or want to revisit something, head to our website: www.olphparish.com. Look for “From Father’s Desk” or “Pastor’s Page”. All my letters are there. I would love your feedback. Sometimes as I labor, I wonder if anyone is reading. Each one takes hours!

One of the refrains within this series, is the question of the Psalmist: “How can I make a return to the Lord for all of his goodness to me?” (Ps 116). We have all been invited to wrestle with that question in prayer with Jesus. We admit that our goal is to place our whole lives at the service of the Gospel, which includes financial resources, but crucially offering our talents and time for the greater glory of God as well!

The Gospel today is a bit harsh in this regard, because after the servant comes in from a long day in the field, he has to wait on his master at table and the passage concludes abruptly, “We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.” After a long day, it can be challenging to embrace the reality that it is the duty of the Christian to serve, not for accolades or attaboys. The Gospel challenges the disciples in their Christian duty to love generously.
As your pastor, I seek to set a good example, and if I am encouraging you to be generous, it is important for me to walk-the-walk not just talk-the-talk. It is true that we should not be showy in our generosity. At the same time, it is important for you to know that I am giving generously of the salary you have given me.

I make about $2400 a month, so I give away $240, or 10%. $120 ($30 a week) to our Parish first collection. It is the stated goal per envelope, so I should at least do that right? Then I support our Annual Catholic Appeal and Good Counsel Homes with a monthly gift of $30 each. Recently, I have made some changes. In prayer with Jesus, we reexamined my giving and decided to keep more of my tithe local. So I now give $30 a month to both the School Fund and to the Saint Vincent de Paul Society. All my local giving happens through the GIVELIFY app. Sure, I support fundraisers and use SCRIP gift cards - but that’s extra! When I buy a raffle ticket, I do not consider it part of my tithing. (Special thanks to Eileen Bush for telling us this week about Givelify!!)

Tithing (meaning a tenth) comes from Scripture… way back in Genesis (Gn 14:18 & 28:22), and it is common practice among other Christian denominations. Presently, tithing may not be possible for everyone. Still, I would encourage you to make giving a priority by prayerfully discerning what is possible. One of the best ways to begin on the road towards tithing is by choosing a sacrificial percentage (not a dollar amount) to give.

But before all this, it is necessary in prayer with Jesus to examine our lives. We place our lives before him, and together, we sort out what belongs to the Lord and what does not. In other words, we look closely at our whole existence and of each aspect ask: “Is this for the greater glory of God?” Or, “Does this advance the Kingdom?” As creatures brought into and held in existence by our Good and Loving God, we are obliged to make a return to the Lord for all his goodness to us.

With a generous heart,
Fr. Wilson

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