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5th Sunday of Lent

Fr. Paul Koetter
Sunday, March 13, 2016 - 10:00am

Fr. Paul's Homily

This is our pledge Sunday for our parish of Holy Spirit.  We are asked to make our commitment to our community for this coming year.  To our visitors, you picked a great Sunday to come to Holy Spirit!!  No, really!!  I hope this day will inspire us all.

I would like to invite the students to come forward and pass out the pledge cards and pens.  If you brought yours from home, then you have fulfilled your responsibility.  If for whatever reason you do not choose to make a pledge, I ask you to fill out the pledge card so that you can verify your address and give us your best phone number.  So many phone land lines have been discontinued and we need a good phone number.

Three weeks ago I asked us to consider doing a corporeal or spiritual work of mercy.  You remember them don’t you?

  • To feed the hungry;
  • To give drink to the thirsty;
  • To clothe the naked;
  • To harbour the harbourless;
  • To visit the sick;
  • To ransom the captive;
  • To bury the dead.

The spiritual works of mercy are:

  • To instruct the confused;
  • To counsel the doubtful;
  • To admonish sinners;
  • To bear wrongs patiently;
  • To forgive offences willingly;
  • To comfort the afflicted;
  • To pray for the living and the dead.

I asked each of you to pick one or two of these that you were committed to doing during the six weeks of Lent.  These three crosses are a sign of your commitment and desire to show mercy.  I was overwhelmed, and needed to continue to find space and crosses!

It is about doing for others; helping those in need.  Today I am asking you to give to this parish community as someone who believes in what we do and wants to help others.

As was shared in the video last week, we have, between the parish, school and daycare, 34 full-time employees and 35 part-time employees.  Thousands are touched through the work that happens, only with your help.  415 students all Holy Spirit their school.  450 more students come to Sunday School for religious training.  Four years ago we added our Little Ramsies daycare for the infant through three year olds.  At Easter time 42 will join our church and in April, 76 young people will be confirmed from the parish on April 19th.

IN November we had our first baby shower for an expectant mother who needed help.  Through our Mary’s Garden ministry, she was blessed with many gifts and many prayers.  Sunday, we are hosting another shower for a young woman, Guadalupe, who many of you are praying for every day in anticipation of her due date on June 13.

With each funeral we have, probably 30 people step forward to help through the Resurrection choir, the mercy meal volunteers and our cantor and organist.  This does not include the numerous phone calls and responsibilities handled by our office people leading up to the funeral.  These are just a few examples of service to others.  WE are seeking to help make Christ work visible and concrete for the eastside of Indianapolis.

We are asked to give to support the work of Christ that is going on through this community.

But we also give because I need to give.  If I really mean it when I say that I am putting Christ first, then Christ needs to be in all parts of my life, including my finances.  If a cynical skepticism causes me to protect my money from all charitable giving, then I am saying that God cannot have that part of my life. Giving, and giving generously, creates a spirit of freedom and blessing.  An attitude of giving flows from an attitude of thankfulness and trust.

We all must pay our bills and we all must play for the future.  But in our planning, let’s remember those who cannot pay their bills and those who do not feel they have a future.

I am going to pause and invite you to fill out your pledge card. What can you give to Holy Spirit, whether it is weekly, monthly or annually?  While guide on the back is for 1% and 3% of your income, we are hoping that you will consider something higher. 

I would like to ask our school children to now come forward and now collect the pledge cards.  When you have finished your section, plus bring them forward for a blessing.