There are some things I miss now that my children are older. Less snuggles, fewer moments of awe and wonder, and fewer crazy questions that make me laugh. However, if I’m honest, there some things I do not miss, especially the birthday parties.
I loved the aspect of celebrating my child’s birth, but most years the party cost too much, involved too much stress, and resulted in a lot of presents that ended up in my garage. Today, nice dinners with family and friends sharing time together have taken the place of the “birthday party” and that is fine with me.
Centuries ago, God moved in such a profound way and sent His Holy Spirit upon us, imparting to the Church gifts that remain with us today. That first Pentecost was a first birthday party of sorts with people gathered to celebrate their common faith in Jesus Christ.
Of course, that party had none of the trappings of a child’s event at Chuck E. Cheese, but instead, presented us all with generous gifts that could be used for the glory of God instead of the stuff children discard after a few weeks.
Every year I think it is important to really celebrate what God has given to us, the Church, on the Feast of Pentecost. The generosity of God knows no limits and the Holy Spirit is alive. It’s just that the gifts from this celebration need to be used or the celebration will be hollow.
The gifts are free to us even though they are priceless. It would be poor stewardship to toss them in the garage with all those toys that time forgot.
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Feast of the Ascension
I remember watching part of a college graduation address where the speaker said, “With this degree you are commissioned to go into the world and make a difference.” The imagery conjured up in my mind by the use of the word “commissioned” was pretty powerful.
I thought about the commissioning of military officers and the responsibility they took on for the lives of their subordinates but also the lives of those they protected. To me the word meant something very serious and solemn. It meant huge responsibility and expectation.
In the Bible, Jesus gives what we call the Great Commission:
“Go, therefore, and 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,” (Matt 28:19-20a).
The word commission makes this more than a suggestion or a hope. There is an expectation, a responsibility, and a mandate. Of course, did you wake up this morning thinking about how you would fulfill the Great Commission today?
Sharing the Faith is not just something we should do; it is something we must do. The key is that you don’t need to speak all the time to share. It will be through your life of stewardship that others will be able to see Jesus.
By giving of yourself, by always responding to the call, and by surrendering all to God, you will lead others to become disciples, to seek out the sacraments, and to observe His teachings. Yes, responding in full to the Great Commission, great things can happen.
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter
What do you think is the value of your stewardship?
Do you believe that through your actions both great and small that God can touch people, heal them, and change their lives? Too often we can mistakenly assume that what we do, say, or offer can have little effect in the grand scheme of life.
We are simply poor sinners in need of salvation so what could we do anyway?
Jesus speaks very powerfully to what can be done by those who believe in Him and follow Him. He says in John’s gospel, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”
Greater ones than these? Think about all the miracles of Jesus recorded in sacred scripture. You and I can do works greater than those?
Theresa of Avila said, “Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” We are Christ to a world that needs Him. It is the Christ in you that responds to the Christ in me. If it were only you alone going about doing good works and deeds, than your stewardship would amount to little. But if you bear the name Christian, and you approach your discipleship seriously, you can truly do greater things.
If you understand your stewardship as a way that Jesus works in our world, then this way of life, cultivating and sharing your gifts at every turn, becomes more valuable than all the gold in the world.
For Sunday, April 30, 2017,
3rd Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:14, 22-33
1 Peter 1:17-21
I was roaming about on the Internet and found a great website about travel to Greece called Mysterious Greece. With an extremely thorough portrayal of all that Greece has to offer, it makes Greece look like a must-see destination for everyone. In one of the blog posts, the writer speaks of the rich history of hospitality in the country and how we have a real need for a more welcoming demeanor in all aspects of our daily living. The post begins with the words, “If there is one Greek word that everyone should know it is this word— ‘philoxenia.’” The word literally means “friend to the stranger,” but the practice of this form of hospitality speaks to a much deeper reality and should rest near the top of all the virtues. (more…)
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 2nd Sunday of Easter / Divine Mercy Sunday
Due to the constant unchecked flow of data and information through the internet, it can be hard to know when a story is real news or rubbish. It never ceases to amaze me when someone I know has bought into some crazy fake news story.
Sometimes the story is just so unbelievable: celebrities who gained 200 pounds in a month, women having babies who were never pregnant, or people actually being seen who are dead! Like Elvis!
The apostle Thomas found the news that Jesus was alive just too far-fetched to believe. But he didn’t first hear the news on the Internet or read it standing in the grocery store checkout line. His friends told him. His fellow apostles told him they had actually seen the Lord with their own eyes.
But their testimony was not enough. Thomas needed proof.
At Easter, we celebrate that Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, conquered death, rose from the dead, and remains very much alive. To the world of non-believers: WHAT!?! It is quite a big reality to swallow. But for the believer, it is a reality that inspires us to the point where we find ourselves constantly sharing the Gospel with everyone we meet! Right?
So what does Easter mean to you? The question is not what do you believe. The question is what impact does Easter have on you? How do your actions demonstrate the power of Easter? What does it mean we you hear that we, the Church, are an Easter People?
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent
When I am driving throughout the United States, I enjoy seeing the billboards that dot the highways speaking for God. A couple of my favorites: “Life is short. Eternity is not. – God;” and “Let’s meet at my house this Sunday, before the game. – God.”
God must have a pretty big advertising budget because He has billboards in pretty much every state!
One billboard I saw read, “You asked God for a sign, and here it is!” After a chuckle, I realized that we are always looking for a sign. We say we believe, but sometimes, we act like we just want to be sure.
In the Gospels, Jesus performs miracles and healings so that people would believe. The healing of Lazarus was surely a profound moment for all who were there. Jesus was able to show that He has power over even death itself, a foreshadowing to his Resurrection that will occur in the not too distant future.
For all who doubt, be assured that Jesus is the giver of life. He has given living water to the woman at the well, sight to the blind, and now has raised a man from the grave.
As Easter draws ever closer, how many more signs do you need? What else can Jesus do to convince you that His call on your life comes from the source of all life?
As the US Bishops’ pastoral letter on stewardship lays this out, we have been challenged, we are asked to choose, and then our lives will be transformed. May all the signs of God around us, even billboards on the side of the road, move us to choose a path of giving of ourselves like Jesus.
Talking about discipleship and truly being a disciple are two very different things. It is easier to know what we should do than to carry out.
Many saints from our tradition have had much to say about this struggle to do what they know they must do, and not do that which they know they shouldn’t. It is part of being human.
Without God, we have no chance to overcome this predicament. Without God, our actions can ring hollow, or often we are immobilized to act at all. Without God, we suffer with blindness to the truth of what is important and eternal.
The story in John 9 of Jesus healing the blind man is about more than a physical healing and just one man. It is about how each of us can find healing of our blindness by turning to Jesus Christ.
Are you someone that has been saying, “I don’t understand all this talk of discipleship and stewardship. What’s the big deal?” We all have a blindness that needs to be healed, and the Body of Christ needs you so that God’s presence in our world can be seen in a more profound manner.
The reality is that God heals the blindness of those you seek him, so that in turn, they may be vehicles by which others may see as well.
This Lent, you are invited to bring your blindness to Jesus. All the written reflections in the world will not give you new eyes. Those eyes can only be found in Jesus
For Sunday, March 26, 2017, 4th Sunday of Lent
1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a
John 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38
It’s a Miracle! Man Born Blind Can Now See!
Earlier today a man, blind from birth, encountered the man they call Jesus of Nazareth and apparently now he can see! It was Jesus who stopped and spoke to the man, rubbed clay on his eyes, and then instructed him to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. Like magic, the blind man then could suddenly see! Of course, some of the authorities spoke out in dismay since this so-called healing took place on the Sabbath. Even his parents had very little to comment out of fear of repercussions. However, what’s the bottom line? Man born blind now can see!
Fake news for sure! Like my mother always said, “If a story is too good to be true, it probably is.” There are just so many fake news stories nowadays it can be very difficult knowing truth from fiction. We need to be very careful. (more…)
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Lent
When I think about the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, I think of my father. This Gospel reading that we use every year for the First Scrutiny of the RCIA was always my favorite to discuss with those who be baptized in just a few weeks at the Easter Vigil.
Not that many years ago, my father was one of those Elect. That year, the story was more powerful than ever.