Building a Family of Faith

Posted on May 25, 2018 by - Everyday Stewardship

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My wife and I have used the same baptismal gown for all 3 of our children.

It is a very long traditional gown made with fabric taken from my wife’s first communion dress and my mother-in-law’s wedding gown. It is a symbol not just of each child being washed clean by the sacrament, but also of family and how faith has been passed down through generations. Faith is a gift and that gown shows how this family has taken seriously the cultivation of that faith and the sharing of it with those we love the most.

By our baptism we are called to a discipleship that compels us to share our faith with others. It is not always easy, but it would be wrong to horde that faith and not let it shine for others to see.

When we think about a stewardship way of life, we sometimes focus on material goods, our talents and skills, or our time. But faith is a gift that needs to be treated in a similar way. We are heirs with Jesus Christ to this rich tapestry of faith and the Church. If all of us were to hide that faith and not seek to share it with others, that lineage would end with us.

We live during a time in history where in some lands people are finding Jesus in huge numbers, while in other places the numbers of people in the pews is declining sharply. We can spend all our time talking about these realities or we can choose to respond to our baptismal call. Jesus commanded us to go forth and make disciples of all nations. Maybe we can begin with our neighbor.

–Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

Moving in The Spirit of Pentecost

Posted on May 19, 2018 by - Everyday Stewardship

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On this Pentecost Sunday, if you come to Mass at my parish you will see a sea of red all around. The choir, the lectors, the extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, the people in the pews, and of course the celebrant and our deacon, will all be wearing red. We are one of those parishes that strive to reflect the color of the liturgy in our dress. It can be a sight to see.

What we put on our bodies serves only as a reminder of what is really important during these liturgical celebrations. At Pentecost, it was the Spirit of God that filled those in the first Christian community. We wear red to call to mind that very Spirit, often depicted as a fire or flame. However, if we just use red as a reminder of the power of the Spirit without letting it change us, then our actions become merely sentimental.

We are filled with the Holy Spirit through the sacraments of the Church. God touches us and enters into us in a profound way, just like in that upper room at Pentecost. That first powerful movement of the Spirit led to a Church that grew and flourished and remains alive today. What is the movement of the Spirit within calling you to do today? Do we allow God to move us and do great things through us? Red is a bold color to wear at any time. But our actions should be even bolder.

–Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

Living Out the Good News

Posted on May 11, 2018 by - Everyday Stewardship

We are told in Scripture that in the early Church, as the first disciples went about preaching the Good News, their words were confirmed by “accompanying signs.”

Miracles such as healings, prophecies, and the like occurred so that others might see and believe. Jesus’ disciples now continued the ministry that Jesus had begun while he walked the earth in the flesh.
We certainly do believe that miracles still occur in our world, but few of us see amazing healings and works of wonder with our own eyes. We read of a time of frequent miracles, and we wonder what it must have been like to be there during those events. We can easily fall into the trap of seeing biblical times as something far removed from ourselves and in the distant past.
However, in the places we go and to the people we meet in this world, we are the signs. We give testimony to the power of the Good News, and we serve as living examples of God’s work in the world. When others hear about how God has changed your life and they see the evidence of a profound love that many around them do not exhibit, they can find themselves wondering what made you this way.

What made you that way is the power of Jesus Christ and that is as real now as it was 2,000 years ago.

 
–Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

The Risks and Rewards of Discipleship

Posted on April 22, 2018 by - Everyday Stewardship

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During the Easter season, we reflect on being followers of the stone that the builders rejected, the crucified and risen Jesus. Like a shepherd he leads us by his voice that echoes throughout the centuries and remains real and effective even in our modern world. To be his disciple means to risk rejection in a similar way as he experienced. The shepherd will not lead his lambs into danger, but there is danger all around us regardless.

Everyday Stewardship can be something we talk about in the abstract or a way of living we simply wish we could follow. It can be an imperfect reality that at times places us in direct conflict with the world. As we decrease and Jesus increases in us, many will be drawn to the love and compassion that flows through us. However, some will see us for fools and will suggest we are ridiculous. Cultivating our gifts for God’s sake and the total surrender of all we possess and have become to God is not wise in some eyes. Either they think we are crazy, or, just maybe at times, the example of our lives causes them to question their own values.

If you give a little, you will be admired. If you give a lot, you will be celebrated. If you give it all, you can be rejected. Not everyone will have this negative reaction. Some will see your example and will seek to do the same. They will then join you in following the shepherd. They will become a true sign of Jesus Christ to the world. But their conversion of heart begins with you and your example.

–Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS