READING HEARTS
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
November ll, 20l8  
In the reading of our Gospel of Mark for this weekend, Jesus, who could read people’s minds and hearts commented on the humility of a lady who gave a tiny donation to the Temple.  He also comments on the pride of those who made big donations.  If a person gives a small donation and it is made with love, they  should not be ashamed; if they can give a large amount, they should be grateful that they are in such a position as to be able to do so  Not being,  Jesus and not being able to read hearts, we are all challenged in faith not to make comments, or belittle what others give but only assume that a lot of love comes with every donation.  Asking for money is no one’s favorite pastime, but it is a responsibility at times to ask for donations for the greater good and I am always most grateful for your great generosity in this church family. In this Gospel, Jesus denounces the scribes who love the external comfort of their position, and who use their “closeness to God’ to pressure the needs for lavish gifts given to them. Jesus contrasts their self-interest with the generous faith of the widow who gives all that she has. In our first reading for Sunday, from the Book of Kings, the same idea is given as a widow from outside Israel trusts Elijah and gives away what little she has and she is greatly rewarded. In this month of Thanksgiving, what courageous faith we hear that should move our minds and hearts to be more grateful each day. It is not how much we give in charity or how much we might get from others, but rather that which comes first from the heart.  

There is a great story of a man who walked into a packaging and shipping store to have a Thanksgiving gift sent out to his mother.  When it came time to pay the bill, he complained bitterly to the clerk. “you are charging me more for shipping than I paid for the gift.” The clerk slyly replied, “Maybe you should buy more expensive gifts.”  It may be stated in relation to reading the heart that, “If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart.”

Whether you are rich or poor what treasures do you have which God might be pleased to hear a Thank You for?  Challenge yourself in your heart to heart giving to sacrifice out of love and thanksgiving for Him who has given you everything. It might also be important for some of us to be sure that we do not let our wealth or comfortable style of living wield power over others in a selfish way.  We all suffer from spiritual poverty and this might be a good week to pray a little more or to act more generously from the heart as a way to honor and thank God for all we are and all we have. Spiritual poverty is a universal  condition and both prayer and active giving are ways to live out a better spiritual relationship with the Lord.    These two prayers and giving also increase our spiritual life from a level of poverty to a level of near wealth.  

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LOVE AIN’T EASY
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
November 4, 20l8
Love has some difficult elements to it such as sacrifice and unselfishness.  These might be best expressed in a prayer of Knute Rockne, a champion of Notre Dame football, who stated, “Dear Lord, In the battle that goes on for life, I ask for a field that is fair, a chance that is equal in strife, the courage to do and dare. If I should win let it be by the code, my faith and honor held very high.  If I should lose, let me stand by the road and cheer as the winners ride by.”  This week as Catholics, we celebrated twin holy days of All Saints and All Souls bringing those who have been loved by us to the front of our minds and hearts. Focusing on them, we reflect on what is truly important in this life, LOVE!  We dared to pray to the saints and for the souls because we believed in Psalm l8, “I love you, Lord my strength.” Our love for God is not measured by how we feel about God or by how we get what we ask for from Him, but our love is giving God our trust, our time, obedience and deep faith. Jesus gave us a reliable measure of our love for God when He told us: “if you love me you will keep my commandments.”

In today’s first reading from Deuteronomy, chapter 6, Moses reminds the people of Israel that their history with God was and is a love story.  So, keeping God’s commands is, in turn, an expression of the people’s love for God. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter l2, Jesus is asked to identify one core commandment and He names two, but the point is that the two are inseparable.  You can’t have one without the other. That is love for God leads to love for Neighbor and vice versa. Jesus makes the key point in the Gospel of Matthew with the Beatitudes in chapter 25 and then states, “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”

In the past weeks, we have all suffered with not only the violence at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg but with other violent acts.  How is it that somehow violence selfness anger power and pride have so overcome LOVE.  We know Love Ain’t Easy, but we also know that the sacrifice and unselfishness of love is worth the cost and the effort.  It is also a challenge for us as Christians to question, does our faith take priority over our political inclinations.  Yet, we must vote, “Yes” we should be involved in our local as well as state and national political life, but our faith must be FIRST. Reflect on this as you reflect on the issues and vote on Tuesday.

There are three acts of love this week that we can do for both God and Neighbor and they may not be easy. First, Daylight Saving Time ends Saturday night and the warmth and beauty of summer and fall are over; as you will note when you set your clock back and get up and come home from work in the dark! So, you need by word, example, attitude and act to be a LIGHT. Second, this is National Vocation Awareness Week and we need to pray for good holy women and men to say “YES” to Church vocations in the religious life and priesthood. Third, this is election Day on Tuesday and your chance to show you love for your country by going out and VOTE. Every vote counts, and when done in honesty and love is the best way to show your appreciation for all God has given you and this nation.