YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE FOURTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: WITHOUT COST YOU HAVE RECEIVED: WITHOUT COST YOU ARE TO GIVE.
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Mt. 10:7-15) Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel Jesus reminded the apostles, “Without cost you have received: without cost you are to give”. Grace, by virtue of the word itself, is free and available to everyone. It is the ultimate purpose of everyone to welcome everyone back to His family. Grace makes that possible.
But many, both laity and the clergy,would contest this. The laity asks why the Church charges some fees for the services? On the part of the clergy, why should they not ask support from the faithful? Both have a reason. In the light of the Gospel today, how can both be answered?
Sacraments and other services in the Church are meant to lead the faithful to salvation. God does not exact any price for it, except for the willingness to admit one’s sins, obey His commands, and love Him like He loved us, i.e. unconditionally. Sacraments cannot be assessed. But living in a material world necessitates material things.
Maintaining churches and dispensing sacraments involves some expenses. Voluntary support should be encouraged to sustain good and satisfactory services.
Churches need to pay their worker’s wages. Bills have to be paid. “The labourers deserve his keep” (verse 10). Donations from the faithful are therefore necessary. These are not payments. If sacraments are “for sale”, many if not, none, can really afford it. Surely, in exchange for salvation, one will be willing to pay no matter how much! Donations should be made according to the capacity of the donor. But in many cases, the faithful find it hard to estimate how much is a good donation. Thus, the Church proposes a certain amount. The faithful may give the exact amount, less or better. It should be emphasised that the amount of donation has nothing to do with the effectivity of the sacrament.
Once, in our parish, a couple applied to be married. They claimed they were low on funds. They asked that they be given a discount. I told them to just donate any amount they could afford. The day of the wedding came. I was surprised to see the entourage in elegant and expensive gowns, the aisle teeming with flowers, and three photographers and a videographer cover the event! So much for “low on funds!”