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.
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Twenty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
How many public self-storage facilities can you find in your city or town? They seem to be popping up everywhere. One day I was talking to my neighbor and he was explaining that he just wanted to have his garage back again. He was thinking about moving everything to a storage unit so he could gain what he wanted more than all that stuff: space. We talked about the fact that if he chose to follow through with it there was no shortage of places to house all of it. Of course, we also agreed that it would be better to simply let go of all it. He could sell it or give it away. But, of course, it was good stuff! So good, in fact, one was tempted to rent a whole new space to house it!
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sometimes when I ask one of my children about who they were with or about a classmate at school they answer me with, “You don’t know them.” Apparently, since I do not know him or her personally, I do not need to know the person’s name. I may not know this person but I do know that he or she exists in the everyday life of one of my children. If my children don’t share with me anything about their friend or classmate, I can only assume he or she has no great impact on my sons’ or daughter’s daily lives. Of course, sometimes the response I get is simply my teen being a typical teen.
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time
The Jubilee Year of Mercy is now in the history books and looking back I wonder if I have been changed at all by the observance. Certainly the focus on mercy wasn’t all about God’s mercy toward me? Yes, I focused on my sin and the need for God’s forgiveness and grace, but hopefully that changed how I live my life and how I offer mercy to others.
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Feast of the Assumption
An everyday steward is called to be gracious. I read once that to be a gracious person meant to walk softly, speak with intent, and to leave those you have met feeling that their lives were better that day because they encountered you. What a way to live!
But alas, living like that each and every day is so very hard. I hate to think that some times people I have encountered are happy to see me go, but I know that it is true. As Christians we are graced people, but on some days, that grace can seem pretty hidden.
If you are looking for an example of gracious living look no further than Our Lady. She answered the call regardless of the cost and she lived her life with a great dignity in the face of horrible trials. She was a gracious host to the Incarnation in her womb and she continues to invite us to get to know her son better. She certainly embodies the definition of gracious living above.
We are called to always be ready and open to the call of her son. He will bring us to those in need, seeking light in a world of darkness. Our hope must be then that after our encounter with another, they will feel enriched by our presence. Of course, we will know, like Our Lady knew before us, that it wasn’t about us at all. It was about the Jesus in us meeting the Jesus in them.
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I remember when all three of my children were learning to swim. In the beginning, it seemed like no matter how much assurance I gave them, they were certain they would drown. Even after watching me float in the water, they were pretty sure their bodies were created to sink. In time, they grew more comfortable in the water. Eventually, they could even swim the length of the pool. But this did not happen overnight. They had to grow in their faith that swimming was possible, not just for others, but for them as well.
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Feast of the Transfiguration
There are times in our lives that we get the chance to see a glimpse of heaven. It may be through the love of another, loved one or stranger. Sometimes it may even be an event that seems unexplainable, perhaps even supernatural. These occurrences may be the answer to prayer or they may surprise us by coming out of nowhere. But no matter their nature or origin, they give us hope and strength to carry on through life.
An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
My wife is a big Dave Ramsey fan. She loves when he tells people that in order to pay down their debt they need to sell so many of their possessions that the kids think that even they can be sold for the right price. He definitely sees earthly possessions as simply tools to be used and not possessed. This is a tough, countercultural message for sure in the eyes of the average American. Too often, our self-worth is derived from our wealth and the items we own. The size of our house, the brand of our car, and the quantity of our belongings are all gauges of success in our world. For Ramsey, not only can you not truly own anything if you owe money to others, it belongs to God anyway and is only given to us as stewards.
Could you sell all you have right now? Could you walk away from all that you have amassed and be truly free? When Jesus speaks of the merchant who sells all he has to obtain a pearl of great price, he calls us to see the pearl as the kingdom of heaven. Nothing on earth can rival the value of the kingdom. If that is true, why is it so hard to surrender everything to God to obtain it? It can be fear that keeps us from stepping out in faith. It can be selfishness that prevents us from letting go. Whatever it is, we must face the fact that we are possessed by it. The good news is that God does not expect us to conquer this obstacle on our own. But with God, all things are possible.
Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS
How time flies! This coming year I will have one child graduate from college, one from high school, and one starting high school. I am exhausted thinking about it. My prayer for all my children is that they take the Holy Spirit with them in all that they do, and call on God to aid them in discerning their future. That is my prayer, but I know that it will not always be easy for them to follow this path. The key will be for each of them, if they choose, to be what God intended them to be, as opposed to trying to be what they want to be.
It sounds great to say to a child, “You can be anything you want to be.” But at the core of this statement is often the lie that true happiness lies in fulfilling your will for your life. I have seen many people in my life that reached their goals only to find an emptiness and longing for something more. The reality is that our ultimate fulfillment and joy is becoming the person, not that we wanted to be, but the person that God created us to be. This does not mean that we are stuck in some predestined situation. There are many ways we can live out our destiny and use fully use the gifts God gave each of us. But it does mean that we have chosen a path based on where God is leading us and informed by an insight of the distinct gifts with which we have been created. At the end of that path is a life filled with joy, peace, and contentment.
This is what I want for my kids. May they find their success by discerning God’s will and becoming the wonderful people that God intended.
Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS
For Sunday, July 23, 2017
16th Sunday Ordinary Time
Wisdom 12:13, 16-19
Matthew 13:24-43 or 13:24-30
I have been working in the Church now as an adult for twenty-five years and I have seen so many things come and go. There were so many programs that promised to completely overhaul your parish and, in turn, change the world. There have been trends brought to us by conferences and workshops, buzzwords that seemed to either bring joy or tribulation to one’s heart, and book after book intending to be that last book you will ever need in ministry or in changing your life.
Today, I am full of hope because of all the talk about the new evangelization and a renewed emphasis on leading people to a real relationship with Jesus Christ. But at the same time, I see many of the same old traps that lead to cults of personality, blind faith in the latest idea or process, and the sin of feeling superior to others. If you are in a particular group that thinks a certain way, you are truly doing God’s will. If you are not, apparently you just don’t seem to get it. (more…)