From the Pulpit: Nov. 12, 2017

Stewardship Witness talk 2017

November 12, 2017                 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Introduction

If the Lord would come today, do you have enough oil in your lamp to be ready.

  • Today we have a parable from Jesus that talks about a wedding feast, oil in your lamp and preparation.
  • In speaking about his return someday at the end of history, Jesus uses a familiar image.
  • He uses the image of a wedding celebration.
  • Most of us have attended a wedding or been a part of a wedding.
  • However, the experience as Jesus relates it may seem foreign to us because he describes the wedding celebration as it would’ve taken place in his own culture and time.

Background

In Jesus’ time a wedding celebration was much different from what we are accustomed to.

  • Initially, the bride and groom were betrothed. In other words, that means they were pledge to each other or engaged.
  • On the day of the wedding, the groom would meet with the bride’s father to negotiate the arrangements for the wedding.
  • Once that was completed, the father of the bride would give her away, much like we do at our wedding ceremonies.
  • Then, the bride and groom would go from the bride’s house through the streets of the village to their new home.
  • There, the wedding guests would wait for the arrival of the wedding party so that the ceremony and celebration could begin.

Parable

In the parable, for some reason the groom is delayed by the negotiations with the bride’s father.

  • As a result, the bridesmaids are left waiting for his arrival. His arrival is delayed, delayed, and delayed.
  • The question then comes down to preparedness.
  • Some of the bridesmaids anticipated that this might be a long wait so, they brought extra oil for their lamps.
  • Others however were not too prepared anticipating that the bride groom would be coming in short order.
  • What happens next is they run out of oil.
  • Of course they ask the others who have ample supply of oil to share theirs with them.
  • They cannot do that and so the five foolish bridesmaids end up going into the village to procure oil and unfortunately, miss The wedding feast.

Perplexed

This part of the story always seemed to perplex me.

  • When I hear this parable I always ask myself, “why wouldn’t the bridesmaids share the extra oil that they brought with the ones who were not prepared?”
  • At first glance, it seems as though Jesus is telling us we don’t have to share with those who are in need. However, that’s not the case.
  • In the story, the bridegroom represents Jesus and his return and they oil of the lamps represent the good deeds of his disciples.
  • As you can see, it’s not possible to share your good deeds with another.
  • It’s like when you’re riding your bike with someone and you ask the other person to share some of his balance with you.
  • That can’t happen. You can’t share balance with another person.
  • This parable is not a story about wedding celebrations nor about sharing.
  • The point of the parable is to be prepared for the return of Jesus at the end of time, whenever that is.

Gratitude

Do you ever think about what the Lord will say to you when he returns? Hopefully, he will say, “well done good and faithful servant enter into the joy of your master

  • Ask yourself, what things would you like to change in your life so that you will be better prepared for the Lord when you meet him.
  • Maybe as you look at your life and are aware of the many blessings that God has given you in the past and continues to give you, you might want to be more grateful.
  • Without a doubt, gratitude is one of those virtues that brings joy to life.
  • God continues to bless us time and again.
  • When we are aware of those blessings, it should stir within our hearts a deep sense of gratitude.

Stewardship

This month our parish continues its annual stewardship renewal.

  • A sense of gratitude and Thanksgiving is at the heart of stewardship.
  • First we are aware of God‘s blessing to us and then secondly, we return something to the Lord because we are grateful.

I have asked Bill and Jesse Cuban, members of our parish, to share a few thoughts on stewardship.

Thank you.

  • This week you should have received an envelope from me containing a letter, a sample commitment card as well as two brochures listing all of our parish ministries and other information on time talent and treasure.

Commitment Sunday

Next week is commitment Sunday in our parish.

  • You will be invited to consider three areas of stewardship: prayer, talent, and financial resources.
  • In preparation I ask you to review the brochures that you received as well as the spend some time with the Lord asking him where he wants you to spend your time in prayer, where he wants you to invest your talents for his kingdom, and how you might make a financial return to the Lord for his blessings.