Living the Beatitudes

Posted on January 26, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Growing UpSometimes I wonder what this world will look like when my children get to be my age. Everything seems to be changing so rapidly and much of that change doesn’t seem to be for the good.

I do think in some ways the Church is definitely experiencing a resurgence and strengthening, but it will have to do so in the face of an increasing culture of atheism and selfishness.

Of course, I bet my parents wondered the same thing when I was a child. As much as things change, they remain the same. When Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount, I would guess some parents there were having the same kind of worries. But Jesus proposed a way of life in the Beatitudes that was counter cultural then and is counter cultural now.

BeatitudesIn his book, Life of Christ, Fulton Sheen said this: “The Sermon on the Mount is so much at variance with all that our world holds dear that the world will crucify anyone who tries to live up to its values.”

Living a stewardship way of life means bringing the Beatitudes into our daily lives in a profound way. However, it also means living in a way that others may not understand or they may even turn away from us because of it. But with the reward in the end being the Kingdom of Heaven, the choice is really a matter of life and death, eternally speaking.

#LoveLikeFrancis

Posted on January 23, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

Love without LimitsThere seems to be much going on in our world right now about standing up for what is right and spreading a message of love rather than hate. Regardless of who you want to point the finger at as a source of hate, the reality is that we all need to be mindful of the barriers in our hearts and minds to truly giving love without limits.

Each of us is one sinner among sinners. But we do need to take a stand when extremes threaten to choke one’s ability to love.

One great campaign, especially from a Catholic point-of-view, is the #LoveLikeFrancis campaign which offers people inexpensive posters, t-shirts, stickers, and more with great slogans and images championing attitudes voiced by Pope Francis. As a Catholic or a Christian it is not possible to align ourselves with every group that speaks of love for some of those also include platforms that are anti-religious or anti-Christian. But with campaigns like this we can remind people of the fundamental command to love our neighbor and the need to safeguard the human dignity of everyone.

Sure, at the end of the day these are really just catchy slogans on fabric or paper. They don’t produce real change in themselves. But they are one additional way of spreading the Good News about a God who calls us to care for each other.

If that’s our goal, I think we can use all the help we can get.

Visit: www.lovelikefrancis.com

Jesus is ALWAYS the Main Thing

Posted on January 20, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

JesusSo the NFL season is almost over. Only two championship games and the Super Bowl remain. For some fans, the season is already over since their team is now sitting at home.

It is amazing the allegiance some people have to their teams. Some people bleed Green Bay green and yellow or believe the only team is supposedly America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, if you are reading this outside the States, perhaps you live and breathe a team like the New Zealand All Blacks or the Calgary Flames.

In the early Church, people took their allegiance to certain leaders to an extreme. Paul chastised them for thinking that the baptism of one community or the teachings of a certain leader were superior to the anything else in this new movement of Jesus followers.

Paul reminded them that there is to be no division in Christ and that all things flow from Christ, not from the leaders in the community. Those who follow Jesus are one Body of Christ: a place where there is no room for competition or condescension.

Sometime our stewardship efforts in a parish become all about the parish. We seek to get people to do more stuff and give more money and we lose sight of why we live a stewardship way of life in the first place: Jesus.

It is wonderful to watch our parishes grow into more vibrant communities that lead people to Jesus. We should rejoice to be in such a parish family. But one day there will be no parishes and those who have received His gifts freely and have followed Him will live with Christ as one forever. In your stewardship, always keep Jesus as the main thing.

Real Stewardship Never Asks for Volunteers

Posted on January 12, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

StewardshipCan you imagine what kind of response I would get if I asked my three children, “Who would like to volunteer to clean up the kitchen after dinner today?” Six eyeballs staring at me like I had two heads!

If I voice my request in terms of volunteerism, I have suggested that I don’t have any real ownership in this matter. Perhaps they do sometimes think that their mother and I are simply hired hands to take care of them, but be rest assured, I have not received a paycheck for services rendered lately.

When you and I give a donation of blood, we volunteer our time and blood to the Red Cross. The Red Cross does not employ most of us, nor do we own a part of the Red Cross. We can only volunteer ourselves for the cause.

As parishioners we are part of a parish family. We belong to our parish community. We do not visit on a Sunday morning, since we cannot visit a place that is home.

The call of the Body of Christ occurs in every parish and our response should be that of the psalmist, “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.” Real stewardship never counts the cost and never asks for volunteers. We step forward because we belong to something greater than ourselves and the head of that community is Jesus.

After dinner at my house, someone needs to clean up the kitchen. In your parish community, someone needs to respond to the call of Jesus. In both cases, no volunteers are needed. We will rely on family instead.

God is Leading Us

Posted on January 5, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for Feast of Epiphany

Epiphany of the LordThe story of the Wise Men bringing gifts to Jesus, the newborn King, is a great one, isn’t it? They had a great big star in the sky to lead the way. I am no boy scout, so I am not sure how well I would do following a star like that.

But the important point here is that God led them to the manger. The manger was a place that unless God specifically showed you this was where the Christ-child was born you wouldn’t have believed it. You would have passed on by.

In our lives, there are no big stars in the sky leading us where we need to go. It isn’t so easy sometimes discerning where God is leading us. We may seek to use our gifts wisely, but in what manner and to what end is not always clear.

This is where prayer can make a huge difference. If we seek to cultivate a prayer life where we are mindful of the presence of God throughout our day, then the call is easier to discern.

We can help the process by intentionally offering to God in the morning the entirety of the day to come: all our actions, all our time, and all our decisions. In the evening, we can examine the past hours of the day and reflect on when we responded well to Christ’s call and when we fell short.

Then we resolve to begin again tomorrow, inviting Christ to be with us every step of the way. God may not offer a star in the sky to lead us, but if we invite Him as a guide on our journey each day, the path will be much clearer.