Today is Stewardship Renewal Sunday. Time to wrap it all up and go forth with faith, hope, and charity! The articles for the past four weeks have focused on different aspects of Praying, Serving, and Giving.
First, we considered the giving nature of God in the famous scripture verse, John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
As we are made in the image and likeness of God, this means we are designed to be givers too. The joy of giving increases when we give intentionally: planning ahead and making a commitment.
Then, learning from Joseph in ancient Egypt, we contemplated the idea of being a good steward: taking care of all that is entrusted to us. We saw how this also applies to Joseph in the New Testament, who was given the responsibility of raising the child Jesus with Mary! Everything belongs to God. He gives us talents, skills, charisms, and even families to nurture, improve, and share with everyone in our lives. Remember the description of a Christian steward:
One who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with all, and returns them with increase to the Lord. (USCCB - Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, pg. 9).
By gratefully receiving all that the Lord gives us, cultivating and sharing our blessings, we can eagerly anticipate our eternal reward.
One of my favorite Scripture verses about giving is in Luke’s Gospel, where Jesus says:
Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you. (Luke 6:38)
What better reason to give, right? Don’t be fooled though; this is not an expectation of return where I give $20 because I want to get back millions. This is encouragement to give because the rewards will be more than we can imagine — even if it’s not during our lifetime on earth! My confirmation saint is St. Bernadette of Lourdes. During one of Our Lady of Lourdes’ apparitions, she said to Bernadette, “I do not promise to make you happy in this life, but in the next.”
Another famous saint encourages us:
Lord, teach me to be generous;
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil, and not to seek for rest;
To labor, and not to ask for reward — except to know that I am doing your will.
- St. Ignatius of Loyola
Thinking about the keys of stewardship: Praying, Serving, and Giving, helps us focus our efforts and not become overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do or how much. First, pray. Spend some time in adoration and just ask Jesus, “What are you calling me to do? How much are you asking me to give?” And then, just listen. Like many things, you may not get an answer right away, but at some point, you’ll know what to do. Today’s Parish Expo is one of the best ways to learn about numerous opportunities to be involved at our parish. From prayer groups, to helping the homeless and hungry, to fellowship events and Bible studies — each table presents options for you to test the waters and discover how you are being called.
Why do we ask you to renew your commitment to stewardship every year? For practical reasons? Sure, things like maintaining our beautiful campus, having clean spaces to meet and worship, paying the bills, and providing a just wage for our staff are certainly part of it. More than these, however, we desire to grow closer to Jesus and help bring others to know and love Jesus! The Church, which includes our parish, exists to bring people to Jesus. As a family of families, we are responsible for each other and helping each other get to heaven. Our priests and deacons administer the sacraments — outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace — which are the very core of why we belong to the Catholic faith and this parish. Our outreach ministries fulfill our call to give alms and to serve the poor in our community. Bible studies help us learn about Jesus, how to be more like Him, and how to encourage each other to grow spiritually. Fellowship with others gives us positive relationships, role models, and people with whom to share our struggles and joys. Even the visual beauty of the church itself draws us to look upward toward our ultimate desire: the love of Jesus and eternal life with God.
This week, please pray about how God is calling you to the areas of praying, serving, and giving. Then click the link on our website or scan the QR code to complete your commitment form online. If, like me, you prefer paper and pen, then pick up a form in the vestibule (or even tear out this one from the bulletin). Then complete it and return it to the Parish Office. We love planning ahead and your commitments will help us journey with you as we are the Body of Christ — Becoming Disciples.BACK TO LIST