by Parish Staff
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
May the Peace of the Risen Christ be with you!
May the Peace of the Risen Lord be with you! For the past eight years we have daily prayed the Stewardship Prayer at the end of Mass, except for those Masses when we pray the Vocation Prayer. This prayer reminds us that God has given us charge of the many gifts that He has freely chosen to give us. We have prayed that we would be good stewards of all that God has given us. We know that a steward is one who has been put in charge of another person’s possessions. You probably hear the word “caretaker” more these days than steward.
We are called to be good stewards of our time. We are not only called to give a tithe (10%) of our time to help other people, our brothers and sisters in the Lord, in whatever manner we can such as feeding the homeless; but we are also called to give God some our time. In other words, we are to spend time with God in prayer. Being good stewards of our time in prayer means that we are to pray not only for our own needs and desires, but also for those of others. Part of our prayer life is to spend time with the Lord in silence so that He can speak to us. This is really hard since we are so used to spending all of our time with the Lord telling Him what we need. Spending time with the Lord in silence allows Him to plant His words in our minds and to guide us in our daily life.
We are also called to be good stewards of our relationships. For those of you who married, this means that you should look at the gift God has given you in your spouse and children and show them the love and attention that they need and deserve. It is frequently said that marriage is a 50%-50% giving of each other, but God wants you to give 100% to each other. Ask yourself how much time do I really give to my significant other? Do you pray together each day? How many times a week do you pray together as a family?
We are also called to be good stewards by promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and to consecrated life (religious sisters or brothers). If you have children, do you ever encourage them to pray about a religious vocation? Do you encourage another that you think may be a good priest, deacon, sister or brother? Do you pray together as a family that more young people will say yes to the calling (vocation) that God is giving them? And if you are a single person, what do you do to discern whether or not God may be calling you to serve Him as a priest, deacon, or religious sister/brother? We are indeed called to be good stewards of vocations.
You will soon be receiving, if you have not already received it, a letter from me reminding you that we are all called to be good stewards, especially with our finances. In that letter I asked you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you decide how you can be a good steward. We should never forget, as we pray in the Stewardship Prayer, that everything we possess is a gift from God. Since God gives us everything, including our job, then it only makes sense that we give Him back our tithe (10%) of what he has given us. This is what God asks of us. “All tithes from the Land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the LORD’s; they are holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30. St. Luke reminds us in his gospel (21:1-4) that stewardship means using everything God has given us – life, talents, possessions – to serve God with love and gratitude. Jesus encouraged giving in proportion to what we have received, praising the poor widow for her generous gift. The Apostle Paul directed his followers to plan their contributions. “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save whatever extra you earn …”
The sacred authors of the Sacred Scriptures (the Bible) encourage us to always give our tithes to God with joy. “Everyone must give according to what he has inwardly decided; not sadly, not grudgingly, for God loves a cheerful giver. God can multiply his favors among you so that you may always have enough of everything and even a surplus for good works” (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). St. Paul wanted everyone to know that the Lord would never be surpassed in generosity: “My God in turn will supply your needs fully, in a way worthy of his magnificent riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19).
Today you are being asked to take a serious look at your financial income and to make a pledge to give back to God the tithe that He asks for. If you are a couple and both of you work, then you need to look at your combined income and work from there. You are also encouraged to make a budget for your family or for yourself. This helps us to learn to live within our means. I am reminded at what one of the members of the parish stewardship committee said at one of our meetings. “I used to get angry at Monsignor for always talking about money. Then I started reading the Bible and learned that he was only telling us what God has already told us. That is when I stopped spending God’s money. Now I give God his money first, and then I spend my money on whatever I want. I now lack for nothing since I am living according to God’s plan.” What a beautiful insight!
Next Sunday, you will be asked to make a written pledge to God as to how much you will give Him each week for the next year, and then be faithful to that pledge. I have learned that living according to God’s plan really works. You need to try it if you are not already doing so. Tithing, after all, is a way of life, a life of trust in God.
Remember that November is the month to pray for the poor souls in purgatory. Pray with me that all the souls of the faithful departed may rest in peace.
Please pray daily for me and all our priests and seminarians. Please remember in a special way all the deceased priests and bishops of our own diocese and in particular the priests who served here in SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish.
I love you,