Greetings! This week we will discuss the final pillar of Christian Stewardship which is Treasure. Discussion about how we are good stewards of our treasure always seems to be a little more sensitive than the other two pillars of Christian Stewardship. It is quite common to convince ourselves that if we had more, then we’d give more rather than vice versa. Why do we all hate to talk about money? Jesus Himself did not find it at all awkward to talk to us about how to approach our money and material belongings. Take a look at these Gospels that are jam-packed with stories about money and belongings: The Rich Young Man (Mt 19:16-24), The Workers in the Vineyard (Mt 20:1-16), Paying Taxes to the Emperor (Mt 22:15-22), The Parable of the Talents (Mt 25:14-30), The Poor Widow’s Contribution (Mk 12:41-44), The Good Samaritan (Lk 10:29-37), The Parable of the Rich Fool (Lk 12:16-21) and The Parable of the Lost Coin (Lk 15:8-10).
Typically, when we are talking about being good stewards of our treasure, we are talking about almsgiving, or tithing. Tithing is a way to give money to our parish, diocese, or other specific organizations in order to direct our collective money in a streamlined fashion to build up our parish, Church, and the members of our community who are in need. The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses economic activity and how it relates to the Body of Christ. “Everyone has the right of economic initiative; everyone should make legitimate use of his talents to contribute to the abundance that will benefit all and to harvest the just fruits of his labor. He should seek to observe regulations issued by legitimate authority for the sake of the common good” (CCC #2429). In other words, we each have a right to earn money and material goods through the gifts of our talents and we have a right to reap the fruits of our work, but with those rights comes the obligation to use those material gains for the common good of the entire Body.READ MORE
Last week we discussed what it means to be good stewards of our time. This week, we’ll take a closer look at what it means to be good stewards of our talent.
First, we must understand what is meant when we refer to our talents. God has bestowed on each of us particular gifts, graces, and charisms which are specific and unique to each of us individually. Reflecting on the image of the Body of Christ, it is easy to understand why He distributed these gifts so diversely. A body cannot be made up entirely of eyes, for example, or it would not also be able to run or listen. A body must have all of its many parts which each have the properties fitting to that part to make the entire body work properly. So too, we, the members of the Body of Christ, must have gifts proper to each of us so His Body can function as it should, according to His will.READ MORE
Greetings! As a new member of the Pastoral Council, Father Chad asked me to lend him a helping hand by writing a series of articles on Christian Stewardship.
Over the last several weeks (and years!), Father Chad has been working hard to help form us into intentional disciples. Both in his homilies and in his bulletin articles, he has explained our parish mission statement and what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Included within the many characteristics of being a disciple that Father has already laid out for us is the quality of Christian Stewardship which is composed of the three pillars of Time, Talent, and Treasure. When we, as disciples, are being good stewards of these three things, we give God our first fruits to build up His Kingdom and the Body of Christ through which He then blesses us abundantly in return. Today, we will take a closer look at how we are to be good stewards of our time to serve God and in the coming weeks we’ll examine the other two.READ MORE
Last week, we learned from the original disciples that discipleship is a journey; it is an intentional process of becoming fully alive and happy even while on this earth, excitedly anticipating life everlasting in Heaven. That is the reason for the “Becoming Disciples” in our vision statement. Those part of the parish about four years ago may recall that I asked parishioners to read and join our discussion on the book Forming Intentional Disciples. I had first read it about eight years ago (one year into my priesthood). It described what I had observed in the Church in every parish where I had been in but had been unable to articulate. I reflected on how my relationship with Jesus had indeed influenced, directed, and become central in my life. I recognized that it was my relationship and love for Jesus that made the sacraments alive and placed choosing and living my faith as priority #1. However, as I read the five thresholds of a journey to discipleship described in the book, I remembered ways I had grown to become a disciple. The five thresholds include:READ MORE
Now that we have looked a little bit at what being the Body of Christ means – both as members of the larger universal Church and also as members of Corpus Christi – let us turn our attention to the next part of our vision statement and what it means to Become Disciples.
If we were to ask the average Catholic what the Catholic Church is about, I imagine most of the answers would focus on the sacraments and helping people get to Heaven. However, while the sacraments are the means by which the Church fulfills its mission and purpose, the actual mission of the Church is the last command Jesus gave to the 11 remaining disciples: “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19). Thus, for us and indeed for every Catholic Church, our mission, our purpose, what we must be about, is to first become disciples and to make disciples.READ MORE
I continue my reflection on our Vision Statement: The Body of Christ — Becoming Disciples. Last week, I talked about the many ways we are striving to become a closer “family of families” of Corpus Christi through the various casual, fun activities we have throughout the year and I even forgot to mention our annual Parish Picnic, which is our primary, fun, community-building activity! Today, though, I want to focus on the unifying agent of our Corpus Christi family and how we become the Body of Christ we are meant to be.
To be a welcoming community is one of the challenges in all parishes the size of Corpus Christi, and thankfully we need to grow in our hospitality because we continue to attract many new parishioners each month! As I said, it takes the whole family; it takes all of us to be welcoming and intentionally having a family-like mentality to see each other as brothers and sisters. It starts with every one of us doing our part to be friendly, hospitable, and welcoming. Perhaps a closer look at what it means to be part of “the Body” will be helpful. We, the Church, are the Body, and Christ is the Head (Col 1:18). He directs us, just as every movement of our arm, leg, or any part of our bodies, every decision we make, indeed, everything we do, first comes from our head. Our brain tells our muscles and every part of our bodies what to do. So, let us ask ourselves, does Christ our Head tell us what to do? Likewise, as we learn from 1 Cor 12, we are all members of the Body, we all have a function in the Body, and we all have to do our part. Anyone who has had surgery on a body part — say a leg, arm, or back — knows how hard it is for the other body parts to compensate. That being said, the body also has to work together to accomplish most tasks. It is not someone else’s job to be friendly, welcoming, and helping to serve others — it is all of ours, as that is what Christ our head calls us to do.READ MORE
It occurred to me, that while we have a Mission Statement (which the Staff and Pastoral Council formulated a few years ago and is still current) we did not have a Vision Statement. Some of you might be wondering what the difference is between the two statements. In my mind, a Vision Statement is a brief phrase that is easily memorized and advertised to give focus, identity, and purpose in order to unify an organization. Whereas a Mission Statement helps give context to how that organization is working toward accomplishing the Vision. Thus, a few weeks ago, the current Pastoral Council and Parish Staff met and came up with our Vision Statement: The Body of Christ – Becoming Disciples, which you will see advertised in all our future communications. We will continue to work to accomplish that vision as a parish by striving to be a welcoming community proclaiming the love of God and fostering a life-long personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church through Scripture, Sacraments, and service (that has been our Mission Statement). So, in the next few bulletin articles, I will begin to unpack what our Vision Statement means and looks like in our lives.READ MORE
Many of you know Anthony Janus, our junior high and high school youth minister for the past four years, has moved to Virginia to pursue a degree in counseling and be closer to his and his wife’s families. Anthony has done a phenomenal job during his time here. There were 10 high schoolers his first year and this past year, there were over 40! On the last night of the semester before summer break, the teens were able to say good-bye and thank you. Each and every one of them said how much they will miss Anthony and how much he and the youth group has helped them grow in their faith. If you know me, it is so much more than just about numbers, it really is about each teen’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His Church and their desire to learn and grow more in their faith. Not only did Anthony have a solid 40 students every Sunday night, but when he offered the Thursday Bible Study for those who wanted more, he would have about 20 choosing to come to deepen their faith. As you can tell, the new Youth Minister has big shoes to fill, but is coming in with such a strong foundation.READ MORE
In today’s first reading from Ecclesiastes, we hear that the pursuit of worldly riches is vanity because in the end we have to let them all go. We can spend our whole lives acquiring things, but at the end of our lives everything for which we have worked so hard goes to another who hasn’t worked for it. This Old Testament reading sets us up for the Gospel reading from Luke, which begins when a man comes to Jesus complaining that his brother hasn’t divided the inheritance equally with him. Against this backdrop, Jesus gives us the divine perspective on wealth by telling the story of a wealthy man who has a crop so big it doesn’t fit into his barns. His solution is to tear everything down and build bigger barns so he can store up this great abundance of wealth. But God comes to the rich man and tells him that he will die that very night—and not be able to enjoy this wealth that he has stored up for himself. Jesus ends the story by telling his listeners that this is how it will be for everyone who stores up treasures for himself rather than being rich in what matters to God. The message here is an emphasis on what really lasts. Acquiring wealth is vanity if we acquire it just for ourselves since nothing we build or save up in this world will last forever. But Jesus tells us that there are things we can do in this life that will have eternal significance. If the man in the Gospel reading had distributed his extra wealth to the needy, he would have had treasure in heaven. So Jesus is asking us whether, in our saving and our success, we are focusing on earthly success or investing in that which will have an eternal reward.
(2) The Pillars: Catholic Doctrine
And then, dear friends, what else does our cathedral need? It needs solid pillars to support the vaults. What are these pillars? What foundation is needed to support the graceful slenderness of the Gothic rib-vaults? The Catholic doctrine we have received from the apostles is the only solid foundation we can find.
If everyone defends his own opinion, theological hypotheses, novelties, or a pastoral approach that contradicts the demands of the Gospel and the perennial Magisterium of the Church, then division will spread everywhere.
I am wounded when I see so many pastors selling off Catholic doctrine and sowing division among the faithful. We owe the Christian people a clear teaching, firm and stable. How can we allow bishops and episcopal conferences to contradict one another? Where confusion reigns, God cannot dwell! For God is Light and Truth.READ MORE
(Continued from last week).
The great cathedrals of the West could have been built only by men of great faith and great humility who were profoundly happy to know that they were sons of God. They are like a song of joy, a hymn to God’s glory sculpted in stone and painted in glass. They are the work of sons who love and adore their heavenly Father! All were glad to carve into stone an expression of their faith and love for God, and not for the glory of their own name. Their art works were meant to glory and praise God alone. Modern Western man is too sad to achieve such works of art.
He has chosen to be a solitary orphan: how can he chant the glory of the eternal Father from whom he has received all? Well then, what shall he do? Before the ruins of Notre-Dame, some have been tempted to say: See, this building has served its purpose. Let us build something new, more modern. Let us build something after our own image! A building that speaks, not of God’s glory, but the glory of man, of the power of science and modernity.READ MORE
“As a bishop,” said Cardinal Robert Sarah at a May 25th conference in Paris, “it is my duty to warn the West: behold the flames of barbarism threaten you!”
Allow me first of all to thank Monseigneur Michel Aupetit, Archbishop of Paris, and the curé of Saint FrançoisXavier parish, Fr. Lefèvre-Pontalis, for their fraternal welcome.
I have come to present my latest book: The Day is Now Far Spent. In this book, I analyze the profound crisis of the West, a crisis of faith, a crisis of the Church, of the priesthood, of identity, a crisis of the meaning of man and human life. I discuss this spiritual collapse and all its consequences.
This evening I would like to repeat these convictions I hold so deeply, by putting them into the perspective of a moving visit I made yesterday. Just hours ago I was at the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris. As I entered the gutted church, and contemplated its ruined vaults, I could not help but see in it a symbol of the situation of Western civilization and of the Church in Europe.READ MORE