There is a well-known proverb which says, “It’s not the gift but the thought that counts.”  And the truth of that saying is easy to document and difficult to dispute.  Look at your own experience.  I dare say the most cherished gifts you have received have not necessarily been the most expensive.

One man told a typical story about an old pocket watch which he kept in a glass case on his desk.  The watch had no practical usefulness.  It had long since stopped keeping time, and it had almost no monetary value. But the man also indicated that it wasn’t for sale at any price.  You see, that old watch had been given to him by his father who had died some years before.  And though to most people, it was virtually worthless, for him it was priceless because it symbolized a love relationship that he valued very highly.

Some of you know what I’m talking about.  A simple greeting card given as an expression of genuine love can mean more than a costly piece of jewelry when the jewelry is given as an attempt to compensate for a lack of love.

This same principle applies when we move into the realm of Christian life.  The spirit with which we give to Christ and to His Church is no less important than the spirit with which we give to each other.  If you and I are more concerned with the motivation that causes us to give than with the market value of the gift, we can suppose that our Lord must surely feel the same.  So even in Christian living, it is not so much the gift as the thought behind it that counts.

In other words, Christ measures our gifts, not according to size but according to sacrifice; and that puts things in a totally different light.  To so many in our day, sacrifice is a familiar word but a very unfamiliar experience.  Your giving is primarily an expression of your commitment to Christ and your concern for His cause.  So the important thing is what it says to Jesus.  The important thing is how much does our giving express our true love.

During this past year as your Pastor, I have seen over and over again your commitment to our Lord by the way you have reached out in love to this parish and to all the families of Annunciation-Our Lady of Fatima.  The outpouring of love is overwhelming.  The entire atmosphere in the parish is completely transformed because of your care and concern. 

I have witnessed the genuine spirit of true family that has taken place over the years but which has been most evident during the pandemic time.  I personally experienced this in so many ways during this trying and difficult year.  Everyone who attended Mass in person, as well as those on livestream, left as much better      persons because of the spirit of love that was poured down upon us by Our Eucharistic Lord and reflected in the lives of so many.

I am most proud of you and most proud that I can say that these are true and loyal parishioners of Annunciation-Our Lady of Fatima.  I could not but think how wonderful to see the Catholic life lived by the way Jesus described it to us.  I know even more so now that if all of us gave a little more from the heart and reached out to one another in love a little more, our community would transform a little more into that community of love.

Let our next years together be that caring community reaching out to one another in Christ Jesus.  God bless you for all you are doing to make this a daily reality in our parish.