God is offering you millions, Don't settle for pennies

Homily for the Eighteenth Sunday of Year C

by Fr. Tommy Lane

In the very early days of the Church after Pentecost, a very beautiful miracle took place. It is a great pity that the section of the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 3:1-10) which contains the miracle is never read on Sundays or Holydays (except on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul on June 29th). There was a man who was a cripple from birth and people used to put him every day at one of the entrances to the temple in Jerusalem so that he could beg. He saw Peter and John going into the temple and begged from them. He was expecting to get something from them. Peter said to him, “I have neither silver nor gold, but I will give you what I have: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene walk.” (Acts 3:6) They took him by the right hand and helped him up, and instantly his feet and ankles became firm, so he jumped up, stood and began to walk, and he went with Peter and John into the temple praising God.

Maybe sometimes we are like that beggar, settling for too little, begging for pennies when there is so much more that God wants to give us. Maybe sometimes we get lost during life counting the pennies, when God has plans for us to walk and jump and praise him. Maybe even the whole Church settles for too little like the beggar, while God has plans for much more, that the Church should walk and jump and praise God. That beggar was unchanging and unquestioning. That beggar met the love of God and was changed forever. If we too could really believe in the love of God for us, we too would be changed forever and then we would walk and jump and praise God. It is hard to believe that God could love us so much, and has such great plans for you. Although it is hard to believe, it is true. Pray, pray to believe in God’s love for you. Pray to be able to walk and jump and praise God. Pray to become what God has planned for you. That beggar was settling for pennies, but God wanted to give him millions. God wants to give you millions too. Don’t settle for pennies.

The first reading (Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23) talks about the dreariness of life if we settle only for pennies, “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.” (Eccl 1:2) If we’re begging at the gate, instead of walking and jumping and praising God, all is certainly vanity. The second reading (Col 3:1-5, 9-11) begins very beautifully,

“Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.” (Col 3:1-2)

In the Gospel (Luke 12:13-21), Jesus tells us that the most important things cannot be bought with money. Someone who stores up treasures for oneself instead of making oneself rich in the sight of God is foolish. It is easy to lower our sights and become lost, to look for pennies when God offers millions. It is easy to become like the foolish man in the Gospel parable, to look for security in money or possessions. It is easy to be possessed by our possessions, instead of possessing them. What is most valuable is not bought by money. Love and friendship are priceless. Health is wealth.

With what attitude have you come to Mass here today? Have you come begging for pennies? God is offering you millions. The lotto is nothing compared to what God is offering you in this Mass. Believe in God’s love for you. God is offering you millions. If you have come begging for pennies, all is vanity. If you are possessed by your possessions remember Jesus’ words in the Gospel, a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than enough. The most important things in life are priceless. As we heard in our second reading,

“Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.” (Col 3:1-2)

This homily was delivered when I was engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

More homilies for the Eighteenth Sunday Year C

Become rich in the sight of God and trust in Jesus

We are to live with our bodies here on earth but with our minds and souls in heaven 2007
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