Nov. 20 – Feast of Christ the King

I was recently asked about “tithing.” What is it and why and how do we do it?

The idea of “Tithing” comes from the Old Testament, where the people of Israel were to give a tenth of everything they have to the Lord (see Leviticus 27:30).

The tenth of what they gave was used for worship of God in the temple and to support the temple priests – who were dedicated full time to offering sacrifices and worship to the Lord – and so were unable to work the land and grow their own food.

Our Catholic Christian faith still encourages this practice. That 10 percent of my income I give to God and to the mission of His Church, whether that’s all directly to the local parish (even many priests tithe 10 percent of our income back to our parish), or some other effort of the Church to proclaim Christ or serve the poor – perhaps a missionary organization, or some ministry of the Church that cares for the poor, such as Mary’s Meals, Catholic Relief Services, a Mission Church in Haiti, etc.

But of course, there are situations where bills are so tight that one perhaps cannot afford to give 10 percent of what they bring in to the Church.

In that case I should still consider how I might “tithe” to God with my time or my talents. Perhaps, it’s giving 10 percent of my time to God, whether in intentional prayer or in or service of the Church. If I work 40 hours a week, I could give 4 hours of week (or 30 min. a day).

But giving my time and talent in service to the mission of Christ and His Church doesn’t need to always be within the walls of my parish either.

I could use that 10 percent to practice the corporal or spiritual works of mercy for others in the community.

Maybe, in that 10 percent of my time is used to make a meal for someone in need, or visit someone who is sick or grieving. Maybe it’s using my construction skills to do work on someone’s house who can’t afford it. Maybe, it’s volunteering for a service organization that cares for the poor in our community.

Imagine what your life may be like if you intentionally gave four hours of your week in caring for your neighbors!

So, on the feast of Christ the King, as we reflect on Him who is the Lord of every aspect of my life – including my money, my time, my talents – it’s worth asking how am I giving 10 percent of what I have to the Lord?

However we discern to give our 10 percent, the important thing is that we are intentional of giving 10 percent of all I have to help build up the King and to serve Christ the King!

Viva Cristo Rey!

– Fr. Kevin