Small Offerings

Posted on September 29, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016

Some weeks seem to move steadily downhill as soon as they start. Your boss hits you with some hard criticism. Driving around town seems to be a constant experience of getting cut off and being tailgated. The waiter at the restaurant felt pretty sure that your burnt and dried out lunch was not his problem. The kids didn’t plan ahead once again and the entire science fair project is due: TOMORROW!

small-offeringsThen an angel of God in the form of a friend, acquaintance, or stranger says one nice thing, does one good deed, or offers a small gift of kindness and suddenly the entire week changes. The power of good is always able to defeat the bad in our lives, but it is amazing that so much bad can be overcome by such a small amount of good; Truly amazing.

Jesus told us that with a little faith, we could accomplish great things. The faith of a mustard seed can move mountains or uproot a tree from the earth and replant it in the sea. It does not take much to make a big difference in the world.

If we apply this understanding to stewardship, then we can see that small gifts of time, talent, or treasure can yield great harvests. Yes, we are called to offer all we have back to God and his people, but that does not change the fact that through small offerings of ourselves we can change the greater reality in the lives of many.

For many years, I had a tapestry hanging in my office with a quote from the Quaker theologian, Rufus Jones. He said, “I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.” With our stewardship, we have the chance to transform the world around us, even when it seems like what we can offer is so very small at the time.

Looking for Jesus

Posted on September 22, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time

homeless-girlI would like to think that most people in the world would help someone who was suffering if they had the chance. I guess my optimism starts to take a hit when I consider that in some cases the cost will be higher for that help than in others.

To help someone with a meal or transport someone to a doctor is one thing. To offer oneself completely, all of one’s money or time, is quite another. (more…)

Door of Mercy

Posted on September 16, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved,”  (John 10:9)

Cat at DoorWhile sitting on my deck, my cat will sometimes put her nose on the glass door asking to come out with me. I’m hesitant to get up and open the door since I know the drill: I walk to the door, open it, and she backs away apparently frightened by the possibility, sometimes darting away.

I go sit back down and she returns with a meow. I get back up, open the door again, she backs away, I give up.

This kind of inertia affects us all at different points in our life. A door will open and we are too afraid to walk through it. It’s something we think we want, but when the door swings wide, we retract. It could be fear of failure, the unknown, or change. And sometimes we don’t realize the door is open until we look back and recognize it. (more…)

It All Belongs to God

Posted on September 15, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

When the collection basket passes you by at Church, what are you thinking?

collection-basketThe reality is that your spiritual health is tied into what you think and what you do with your money. People like to say that stewardship doesn’t have to do with money, but the reality is that money is such a strong force in our lives, if we relegate it to something outside of our spiritual journey, it has the potential to sneak up on us and take control before we know it.

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Open Your Doors and Open Your Hearts

Posted on September 8, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

9/11 Never ForgottenI remember driving to work and hearing on the radio about a plane that had crashed into the World Trade Center. I assumed at the time it was some daredevil stunt that had gone wrong.

Upon my arrival, I went into the parish center and turned on the television. As I was watching live coverage, I saw a second plane hit the second tower.

As the events unfolded, a crowd gathered around the screen. I ran to open the church and light candles in anticipation of people who would be arriving to pray.

We did not know what was really happening, but we knew it was horrible and we knew that people would be drawn to the parish to pray, unsure of what else to do.

There was a wide range of people who came by that day. Some we knew only from Sunday masses; others were heavily involved in various ministries. A few were Catholics from another parish, while some were not Catholic at all.

crossOn that day, it did not matter where you were from or if you had ever graced the front door of our church. We knew who you were. You were family.

Tragedy and misfortune bring people together who, on a good day, fail to see that they have anything in common. What they have failed to realize previously is that they have the most important thing in common: they have one Creator and they are created in His image.

Even though I pray that another day like that first 9/11 never befalls our country again, the sense of welcoming and family on that day and the days that followed is one I often recall.

Regardless of the reason why someone shows up at our church door, we need to be ready to welcome him or her with open arms. Hospitality can lead to many wonderful things, for both the faithful and the prodigal among us.

God Created You On Purpose for a Purpose

Posted on September 1, 2016 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016 / Labor Day Weekend

The Creation of Adam“You were created on purpose for a purpose.” That may sound like pop psychology gibberish to you at first, but, it is the truth. Modern studies into strengths and gifts, along with constantly new understandings of the complex wonder of DNA, lead us to conclude that each human being is truly unique.

You hold within you a unique set of gifts that cannot be duplicated in the same way by another. What your parents may have told you about snowflakes growing up holds true for people too: No two are exactly alike.

However, we often live our lives in such a way that gives testimony to a falsity, that is, anybody can do just about any job. Positions in the workforce and in our parishes are filled with people who only fulfill one requirement for the job: they have warm bodies. (Meaning, they are not dead.)

There are two realities that create this problem.

First, we ask people to do things they are not equipped to do. We tell them to work harder at it and eventually they will get it. But I can guarantee that no matter how hard I try, I will not be able to lead an NBA team to a title. Sounds ludicrous on that level. But I assure you, it is no more ludicrous than asking someone who doesn’t really like children to teach elementary catechesis.

Second, we ourselves sometimes believe that we have nothing special to offer. We go through life having no idea what are gifts are and how to give of them. We take dead-end jobs and rarely share ourselves with the community. But you may just be the answer to a business or parish problem that, to some, seems unsolvable.

On this Labor Day weekend, thank God for the gifts you have received. Use them to elevate your labor, both in the workplace and in the parish.

If you don’t know how, there is help out there. You are not like everybody else. God has given you a purpose.