Homily

What are the greatest gifts God have given to you personally? Your spouse? Your children? Your talents? Your possessions? Everyone's answers are different. But really what is the greatest gift God has given to each of us? Could it be our body? In our readings from the Book of Wisdom God reminds us that our bodies are "merely earthly tents that burden down our souls and our minds our anxious. We struggle and know so little about things here on earth. How could we possibly learn about things in heaven?" We know from our own experiences that our body wears out and is prone to illnesses. So God is telling us that even though our body and our mind are great gifts they aren't the greatest even though our current culture would like to make us think that they are just as it gives us the message that our possessions are our greatest gift.

So what is God's greatest gifts to us? In our Gospel God tells us that we have to love Jesus more than any of our family and even more than our own life. And in St. Paul's letter to Philemon he tells us that friendships are more of a gift than possessions even though they aren't God's greatest gift to us. Philemon had Onesimus as a slave, a possession who had run away and Paul had him as a fellow evangelist, you might say a possession, who he would had loved to have him continue to work with him and considered him a son. So the family, nor friends, nor possessions are God's greatest gifts to us. So what is? Is it a call to discipleship? Not really. Discipleship is our individual response to God's greatest gift to us, namely OUR SALVATION, His free gift of eternal life with God. He provided our salvation by way of dying for us on the cross.

Salvation may be a free gift but for each of us to accept that gift, God calls us Christians to be disciples of Jesus. In this day it means that we are to be countercultural, being willing to renounce attachment to family, being willing to sever attachment to possessions, and being willing to provide daily sacrificial service to others. Those are a no small price to pay but as difficult they are, there are great rewards here on earth like true happiness here and eternal happiness with God in heaven. We can't go wrong in paying that price, but the result of not being willing to pay that price is devastating.

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