…and all he asks in return is that you believe in him and pour that love out into the world today.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen, please sit.
Our gospel today talks of money, but it’s not really about money, like so many of Jesus teachings, on the surface, he says one thing, but the meaning is a great deal deeper. And that’s very much the case here. Jesus, when pointing to the scribes, when pointing to the rich men who are putting their money in the basket and to the widow, isn’t talking about money. It’s not some sort of Church fundraising campaign that he’s going on about.
It’s not an excuse for me to stand here and say, you should give all that you have. No.
It’s talking about the treasury that you store in heaven. And it’s the same word there in the scripture when Jesus was looking at the treasury. And that’s how Jesus looks at each and one of us. He looks at each one of us as a treasury and what we store up to give him.
I’ve been really rocked by the news of Andy this week. I find it incredibly difficult, and I’ve been trying to understand why I find his death so difficult.
And it’s because in many ways, Andy instinctively understood how to be a good Christian.
He wasn’t a good man. He did a lot of bad things in his life.
But during lockdown he saw this place open and he came in and he sat quietly at the back of Church during morning and evening prayer and during daily Mass.
And over a period of weeks, he asked questions about Jesus. He asked questions about the readings. He listened to the sermons. He asked for a Bible, and we read it together.
And slowly he started to see the good news of Jesus in his life. And he started to see that what was in him, all the good that was in him belonged to Jesus, and that his only course of action was to give all of that to Jesus.
Not a bit of it, not to come once every few weeks and to give a bit of himself. But to give all of himself to Jesus, like the widow in our gospel, to give all of who he was to Jesus.
He didn’t come to Church and show off his faith.
He came to Church because he understood that Jesus was working in his life. And he gave all of who he was because he understood that Jesus working in his life. And so I say to you, how can we do any less, when many of us come from much better backgrounds, where many of us don’t have the difficulties that Andy carried with him.
So my example of the gospel is lived out here in Hayes, in this Church, in this place.
And so I ask you to pray for Andy this week to pray for his soul. That the gifts that he handed over to Jesus in the time since he was baptised. Mean that Jesus hand is reaching out and claiming him for heaven.
And I ask you to think about what it is that you give to God. What is it of yourself that you give to God? Is it all of you, or is it just a little bit that you keep reserved today we baptise Vegi another man who has come to know God has come to know Him in this place and has offered his service not in a showy way. not up front. But by travelling across London every week to help with a parent and toddler group, to clean, to do the things that are unseen. Here again, in this place, the Holy Spirit is at work in the life of our people.
And so, as saddened as I am about Andy as upset as I am about his death, I can be nothing but joyous at the work of the Holy Spirit in this place and of baptising somebody who is giving their life to God today. And so when we cheer for Vegi, when we baptise him, I know it will come from your hearts, and I know that you will pray for him, that he will build up his treasury in heaven.
The VeVegiggie will understand the work of Jesus in his life, and the Vegi will know that he doesn’t do it on his own, but does it as part of our family?
Because when you are a family, when you are a family of God, you can’t be anything other than the widow in the gospel, because the Holy Spirit will get inside you and the Holy Spirit will take your heart and will have it all.
God loves you completely and utterly and totally and awesomely.
And all he asks in return is that you believe in him and pour that love out into the world today.
So yes, we are sad.
But, we are joyous because we see the work of God in the world. Amen.