Obedience Based on Relationship

Posted on September 27, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Obedience Based on RelationshipFor Sunday, October 1, 2017
26th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Ezekiel 18:25-28
Philippians 2:1-11 or 2:1-5
Matthew 21:28-32

Graham Greene was a British novelist who has come to be regarded as one of the greatest English-language writers of the last century. Greene (who passed away in 1991) wrote more than two dozen novels as well as several plays, screenplays, and collections of short stories. Woven throughout his writings are religious themes, especially about the themes of forgiveness and redemption. Anyone who has read the story of the nameless “Whiskey Priest” in The Power and the Glory, of the adulterous Sarah in The End of the Affair, or of the Cervantes-inspired Monsignor Quixote knows Greene, who was also Roman Catholic, artfully weaves together questions of God and faith with the complexities—and darkness—of life and love.

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Stewards Don’t Compare

Posted on September 24, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

comparison

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

As everyday stewards, I hope that each of us try to live daily lives of generosity for the glory of God. I hope that we are all working to cultivate characteristics of a good everyday steward so that we can grow in maturity of faith and draw closer to Christ. But if we could accurately see on a magical computer spreadsheet how everyone else around us was living life would it impact how we lived out our stewardship way of life? If we found out that others weren’t trying as hard as we were or they were not nearly as generous would it give us reason to pause?

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Laboring in God’s Vineyard

Posted on September 20, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Laboring in God’s VineyardFor Sunday, September 24, 2017
25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Isaiah 55:6-9
Philippians 1:20c-24, 27a
Matthew 20:1-16a

The parable of the laborers in the vineyard stuns the conscience.

We readily relate with the workers toiling all day in the hot sun. We feel their disappointment and anger when they are paid no more than those who labored only an hour. It brings to mind the times we have been shortchanged and denied our fair share. In a societal context, it reminds us of efforts to raise the minimum wage. That Jesus would compare God and his kingdom to such an arbitrary landowner challenges our sense of fairness.

What if we saw the parable in a different light? What if we put ourselves in the place of the workers who were in the field only part of the day?

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Who Owns Your Domain?

Posted on September 18, 2017 by - Catholic Tech Talk

church website

“A well-intended volunteer stepped forward to set up our church website. At first, they were totally responsive and information was updated the same day within hours. After a few months, the updates would happen less frequently. I would send them emails with what to place on the site and it would be posted within weeks. Then emails and calls to the volunteer would not lead to any updates at all. Our church website is now static and is still advertising last summer’s festival. It’s been a year and we have no way to update it.”  

Or worse yet, you want to visit the homepage and it’s not the church website anymore.

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The Power of Reconciliation

Posted on September 17, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

reconciliationAn Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Twenty-Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Life was not always easy with my father when I was growing up. Let’s just say he made many decisions along the way that led to fear, anger, and sadness for my family and me. Unfortunately, I was the only one in the family that would years later truly forgive him for his actions. My mother and sister held onto the resentment and anger they felt all their lives. For my father and me, reconciliation led to several years of a deepening relationship before his passing in 2011.

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Why Charism Awareness Matters

Posted on September 16, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

charism

In our parish communities, we ask people to give of themselves more and more. We use St. Paul’s image of the Body of Christ to illustrate how we all play a part in God’s Kingdom, each with a unique charim. We express that the need is great and that the only way for us to succeed is to pull together. Then, we express our frustrations behind the scenes because most people still don’t step forward. One reason why is that many seated in our pews do not have an answer to the question, “What do I have to give?”

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Stewards of Our Sufferings

Posted on September 14, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

suffering

“So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure.” – St. Andrew of Crete

This is complicated, isn’t it? Today crosses come in all shapes, sizes, and functions. You can find them encrusted with diamonds around the necks of celebrities. You can find them in stylized wall hangings, set in craft stores alongside distressed wood signs advising us to “Live – Laugh – Love.” St. Andrew of Crete lived in the seventh century. For St. Andrew, the cross would have retained its original, terrible value as a method of execution. Here we come to the great paradox of Christianity: a method of death as a means to life, a “treasure,” and cause of triumph.

Today’s feast, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, reminds us that we’re not only stewards of our gifts. We’re also stewards of our sufferings.

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Hope and Healing in the Aftermath

Posted on September 13, 2017 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

Connect! Sunday Reflection: Hope and Healing in the AftermathFor Sunday, September 17, 2017
24th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Sirach 27:30—28:7
Romans 14:7-9
Matthew 18:21-35

These past few weeks, the United States has been battered by events of cataclysmic proportions. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the Equifax data breach have shoved tit-for-tat political headlines out of the limelight. Compelling, community-driven stories abound, whether it’s the quirky tenacity of Key West residents, a moving letter from the mayor of New Orleans, or Beyoncé volunteering in her hometown.

For those of us without connections to the South, the events could seem distant, and beyond the sphere of immediate concern, a matter of sympathetic thoughts, $20 donations, and passing prayers. For residents, however, the aftermath can stretch far into the future.

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What We Really Owe

Posted on September 10, 2017 by - Everyday Stewardship

debt

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Twenty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

I have to smile when I read in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another.” I smile because I know that in today’s world few people owe nothing to anyone. We have credit card debt, mortgages, student loans, car loans, and new loans to consolidate old loans. It would seem that we actually owe everything to everyone.

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Growing in Generous Hospitality

Posted on September 9, 2017 by - Vibrant Parish Toolkit

generousThis time of the year the words “generous, extravagant, and abundant and beautiful” seem to be floating in the air. The farmer’s market this past weekend reminded me of that, with so many tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and green beans. The riot of colors and the anticipation of that ripe tomato sliced with a bit of salt was mouth-watering! Then the flowers! Dahlias, mums, purple status, cone flowers, zinnias, all tucked into big bunches waiting for a home to adorn. It made me happy to just walk amid the booths and seeing people choosing and chatting and taking time to pick just the right things.

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