By Fr. John Jasica

We continue our message series (preaching series) called INSOMNIA – THE LIES THAT KEEP YOU UP AT NIGHT. Last weekend we looked at the fear of abandonment and rejection. This weekend we look at money fears.

“SHOW ME THE MONEY”

When I think about this topic of money, I cannot help but remember a movie that came out a number of years ago (1996) starring Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. Do you remember the movie JERRY MAGUIRE? “Show me the money” was the motto of Rod Tidwell, the football wide receiver who ended up staying with his sports agent as long he as was able to provide a lucrative contract so that he and his family had enough money for their lives.

MONEY FEARS

There are so many money fears in our lives. It can become so overwhelming!! We need money for retirement, health care, education for the kids, mortgage payments, keeping up with the neighbours, vacations, kids programs, the fear of falling behind, renovations and so much more. If that wasn’t enough, we are also affected by the world economy, providing for our family, challenging tight budgets, unexpected expenses and personal debt. Money fears can consume our time, efforts and definitely keep us up at night. We strive for work that will allow us to meet our financial commitments and goals in the midst of the whirlwinds of our lives.

This desire for financial stability is a crucial component of our lives. We all seek it, and in fact, we dedicate our lives striving for this success, stability and the ability to live a better life. Money most often becomes for us our driving force that can overshadow everything else in our lives — even our faith. It can damage our relationships and our health. How can we change all of this?

THE LIES OF MONEY FEARS

The first lie behind our money fears is the fact that we think we are all alone and on our own when it comes to our finances. Our drive to make enough money to provide for ourselves, our family and for the future can consume us so much that we forget about God, others and of course seeking the help we need from financial advisors that can coordinate a plan.

The second lie behind our money fears is that our welfare solely relies on our money and possessions. We all know we need finances to live, but have we been caught up in a consumer centred world that always calls us to have more!! All of us are tempted to get the latest smart phone, car or go on that exotic vacation because everyone else is going? We unfortunately often times gage our level of joy, fulfillment and satisfaction on our bank accounts and possessions. Yet they never ever seem to be enough. We get trapped in looking for just a little bit more.

ZACCHAEUS CAN BE ALL OF US

In this weekend’s gospel, Zacchaeus becomes a sign of hope for us. As a tax collector, he was totally consumed with money. That was his driving force. During the time of Jesus, tax collectors not only gathered taxes for the emperor, but also made sure to take a cut for themselves. Zacchaeus was rich because of that.

Then Jesus enters the picture. Zacchaeus changed his perspective when he welcomed Christ in his home and his life. His priorities changed as he placed money in the proper perspective. Zacchaeus discovered the joy of giving and placing Jesus as the source of his happiness as the keys to overcoming financial fears. This radical shift could only happen when he opened his heart to Jesus. We too must do the same.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO DISPEL OUR FINANCIAL FEARS?

(1) TURN TO JESUS – First and foremost, we need to strengthen our spiritual lives and encounter Jesus who is the true source of our happiness. We need to pray, receive the sacraments and truly take the time to allow Jesus into our hearts. I cannot help but think of those who attended our FAITHCATION retreat and see their lives filled with grace knowing that all they really needed is Jesus, which has changed their view on life.

(2) CHANGED APPROACH – I have read and prayed about a new way of approaching finances in my own life. I have attempted (and not always successfully) to give to God first, save for the future and spend what is left over on myself. We all need a financial plan but what is the driving force behind it? Where is God in the midst of the plan and what is calling us to do?

(3) COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS – It is so important to recognize the true blessings we have in our lives. Seeing the hand of God in our day to day activities allows us to know He is with us and that we don’t really need anything else. We are bombarded with so many things that we sometimes don’t know how much we really have. If we think about it, we really have too much as it is!!

(4) SHARE – For us to really live a rich life, we need to share what we have. It doesn’t matter how much money we have in the bank, there is always something we can share with those who don’t have anything. A generous heart will always be rewarded by God’s grace. The more generous we are with others the more the Lord will bless us.

May the Lord bless us our generosity and service always trusting in Him who can only bring us joy & peace.