From the Pulpit: Nov. 5, 2017

November 5, 2017                    STEWARDSHIP INVITATION

Introduction

RABBI

FATHER

TEACHER

These words certainly stand out in today’s Gospel.

  • What is Jesus saying here?
  • Is he saying that we should never call anybody on earth a rabbi, a father or a teacher?
  • It really doesn’t seem to make sense nor address the reality of the human situation.
  • Yes, Jewish people call their religious leader “rabbi.”
  • Yes, we call our male parent “Father” and we have Father’s Day and we call a priest “father.”
  • And finally when we go to school our instructor is called a “teacher.”
  • Are we doing something wrong? What does Jesus mean?
  • Briefly, in order to answer this, we need to look at to whom these words are addressed.
  • They are addressed to the religious leadership of Israel.
  • These are the ones who rather than serve God’s people, made themselves the object of service.
  • Yes, they loved titles of position.
  • Here Jesus is saying titles mean nothing.
  • Leadership essentially is equated with service. For Christians leadership is intrinsically related to service.

Humility

Let’s look at the last sentence in today’s Gospel. It goes something like this “whoever exalts himself will be humbled whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

  • Humility is a virtue that is prized by God.
  • Sometimes people think that to be humble means to think less of your value as a human being.
  • That’s not really so.
  • Jesus is the best example and model for humility.
  • Jesus was humble and tell us that everything that he did and accomplished came from his Father.

Simone Biles

All our gifts whether large or small come from God.

  • Simone Biles, a 19 your old multiple medal winner at the 2016 Olympics, is an example of someone who realized that her talents and skills were a gift from God.
  • Simone knew her past.
  • Her parents had drug addiction problems so at a very young age she was taken from them and raised by her grandparents.
  • For all practical purposes her grandparents became her real parents.
  • She realized that her Olympic success came not from her gold medals but from her faith in God.
  • Her face shaped her attitude.
  • Simone always traveled with reminders of her Catholic faith: an icon of St. Sebastian, patron saint of athletes, and a rosary given to her by her birth mother.
  • Before every event, Simon would stop and pray the Hail Mary.
  • These always reminded her that nothing was hers but her gifts were given to her by God.
  • As a result, she was never proud or overbearing.
  • She was only grateful that God has blessed her with these wonderful athletic talents.

Stewardship Renewal

This month we begin our annual stewardship commitment to the parish.

  • Really, at the heart of this is the understanding that all the skills, talents and everything that I have is a gift from God.
  • More often than not, when people hear the word ‘stewardship’ they seem to think of stewardship of treasure.
  • Stewardship is much more than that.
  • Stewardship is a way of life based on discipleship.
  • This year, we are trying an entirely new approach to stewardship.
  • In the past, we had stewardship of prayer at the end of the summer.
  • If you call, stewardship of prayer was that time when you had the opportunity to make a commitment to spend some time in prayer each day as well as to commit to a particular prayer intention.
  • Later on then during November, we had stewardship of treasure when you had the opportunity to make a financial commitment to the parish for the coming year.
  • This year, we will do our stewardship commitment or renewal all at once.
  • In two weeks, you will have the opportunity to make a commitment of time, talent, and treasure.

Stewardship Packet

In preparation for our stewardship renewal, you will receive a packet in the mail in the next several weeks.

  • This packet will contain several items.
  • It will contain a list of our parish ministries to help you consider being more engaged in our parish.
  • It will contain a brochure about stewardship of time talent and treasure.
  • In addition, it will also contain a sample intention or commitment card for this coming year.
  • I ask you to take a few moments to open the packet and to review the materials.
  • Then ask Jesus to help you as you review those things with the invitation of how you can live discipleship in a much deeper way.

Conclusion

Stewardship essentially is based upon discipleship.

  • Each and every one of us have been invited to follow Jesus.
  • In doing so, God has blessed us with many talents and skills.
  • They are all gifts from God.
  • Discipleship or stewardship means that I am so aware of God’s blessings and that in gratitude I choose to make a return to him.