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If you are raising money for your school with a bake sale and Billy Gates comes and says, “How can I help your cause?” What are you going to ask him? You are not going to invite him to buy a cake. No, you are going to ask him to buy the school. That is the art of asking. We should always ask for something that matches the potential of the giver. Why do we not do this with God?
When I first came to St. Clement Shrine there were many repairs that required immediate attention. One was the kneelers. The old foam had packed down or disintegrated over time, and they had to be reupholstered. So I began a campaign. People could donate $45 per kneeler. It was a successful fundraiser because it didn’t require anyone to break the bank. After about a week or so, a gentleman called and asked if there were any kneelers left. I told him that there were still a bunch of them. He said, “I will take them all.” Of course, I thanked him. I then told him that we had other “gift items” that needed filling…such as the sound system. He paid for it. You see, always aim high. Try to match the potential of the giver. But sometimes what we want is not always material. Sometimes it is the ability to do things.
My cousin once told me, “When I was pregnant outside of wedlock, I wanted to avoid nana. I was ashamed, and I didn’t want to face her. One day I came downstairs and there she was in the middle the living room. I didn’t feel like seeing her, and I tried to slip away, but she came over to me and took me in her arms and gave me a long bear hug. She said, ‘You make me so happy, I am going to be a great-grandmother.’” Then my cousin added, “No matter how bad you were, no matter how much you disappointed nana, she would have a reason why she loved you.”
Not long after that, we threw a surprise birthday party for Nana’s ninetieth birthday. She was sitting down, and we were gathered around her. She said, “I really appreciate all of this, but when I die, you are still getting nothing. There is no inheritance because I don’t have anything to give.” My cousin said, “Nana, all I want from you is your arms.” My cousin wanted her ability to be kind.
My father is a great golfer. After he had won a few local tournaments in his age division, he upgraded and got a new set of golf clubs. He gave me his old clubs. Do you recall when the one and three woods were really made with wood before titanium? I said to my father, “Dad, these clubs are antiques.” Dad responded, “When you win a few tournaments with these clubs, then you can upgrade.” However, I wasn’t asking for his clubs, I was asking for his swing. I was asking for ability, not a thing. But my father can’t give me his ability, and my grandmother can’t give her ability to my cousin. But there is one who can.
When Christ walked through the locked doors on the day of His Resurrection, He didn’t say, “Hey, look guys, I rose from the dead, isn’t that great.” He gave them something: a gift. Before we talk about that gift, let me ask, “What was the first thing Jesus did when He rose from the dead before He visited the disciples in the Upper Room, before He encountered Mary, before He rolled up the head piece that went over His head, before the stone was moved? He filled His lungs with air. The Greek word for breath is “spirit.” The exhale; the resurrected breath. We could not want or ask for anything greater. The resurrected gift is this. We can now live His life! We have the ability to live His compassion, His generosity. No one else can give us the ability but Christ. When you ask our Lord for something, make sure it matches the potential of the giver. Ask for something big. Ask for something that no one else can give you. Ask for His Spirit.Back to All Homilies