.- In his homily during Mass at the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council, Archbishop Ubaldo Santana of Maracaibo (Venezuela) said “the spirituality of thankfully giving back” that is, tithing, consists in giving back “that which belongs to God.”
“When the disciple discovers, with the light of grace, that Jesus wants to share everything with his friends, for whom he is willing to give his very life, in which he gives all and demands nothing, a desire is ignited in his heart that is transformed into a decision: respond to God with the same decision,” Archbishop Santana said.
“Here is the origin of what we could call the spirituality of thankfully giving back, the origin of tithing, that which belongs to God and which the believer gives back. Give to the most High as generously as you can because the Lord knows how to repay.”
“The greatest gift we can take from Aparecida (the bishops’ conference),” the archbishop continued, “is a renewed and clearer conviction that Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man in the womb of Mary, has given us everything. “May the Lord give us the strength to not only tithe but, like Peter, the first missionary disciple of Jesus, may we also be willing to leave everything for Him and have Him as the center of our churches.”
“May Mary accompany us and help our peoples to begin to live a new time of true life, of unbreakable hope,” Archbishop Santana said in conclusion. At the end of the Mass he presented the Shrine of Aparecida with a statue of Our Lady of Coromoto, the patroness of Venezuela.