Bulletin (November 11, 2007)

In his book, Reinventing Yourself, Steve Chandler makes a simple, but profound observation: That you and I become the person we want to be by making commitments and fulfilling them. An “owner” (a person who takes responsibility for his life) says, “I can create the commitments in my life. They are mine.” By way of contrast, a “victim” (a person who always shifts the blame to others) believes that “commitments are simply feelings. They come and go, like stomach gas.” A victim constantly feels trapped, while an owner has an inner freedom that comes from making commitments and being faithful to them. Chandler sums it up in this way:

“Commitments are not feelings. They are decisions. And it’s only by seeing that all our commitments have been decisions, that we can honor those decisions. We can refresh them each day. A commitment can become a part of our life that we are peaceful about.”

Steve Chandler is writing from a secular point of view, but what he says has obvious spiritual implications. In these first weeks of November, we are asked to examine our commitments: Have I begun to drift, with no clear goal? What am I doing with the time, abilities and resources God has placed in my hands? Am I grateful for those gifts? Do I see the opportunities that God gives me each day? Am I willing – by God’s grace – to make a commitment and to see it through?

As a help to making or renewing one’s commitment, this week I sent a letter to all registered parishioners. In that letter I asked you to make a prayerful, planned decision regarding the Time, Talent and Treasure that God has given you. I am asking all parishioners to become “pledge parishioners” by filling out the Stewardship Commitment Pledge. It gives concrete suggestions of ways a person can make a commitment of time to God, to one’s family and to one’s neighborhood and community. It lists ministry opportunities here in Holy Family Parish. Finally, it asks you take a step in Stewardship of Treasure by dedicating a part of ones income to the parish, the Archdiocese and other charities.

If you did not receive a Stewardship Commitment Pledge in the mail, you will find a copy at the ends of the pews. I ask all parishioners to fill out the Pledge, even if you can only make a commitment of Time. (In reality, time is the most valuable gift any of us have.) Please do not assume that I already know your commitment. We do not automatically renew parishioners’ pledges from year to year. We ask you to make an annual commitment. That commitment will help you become the person –and the family – God wants you to be. It will also help the parish to make plans. There are many things we would like to do in terms of liturgy, music, youth ministry and improvement of facilities, but we cannot do it without your commitment. As the Question and Answer Sheet explains, we understand that a person’s financial situation can change, causing them to decrease (or increase) their pledge. The important thing is to make a pledge, to become a Pledge Parishioner.

The U.S. Bishops made a beautiful statement about the relationship between being a disciple and being a steward. Here is what they said in their 1993 document, Stewardship, A Disciple’s Response:

"Who is a Christian disciple? One who responds to Christ's call, follows Jesus, and shapes his or her life in imitation of Christ's. Who is a Christian steward? One who receives God's gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord. "Genesis tells us that God placed the first human beings in a garden to practice stewardship there - 'to cultivate and care for it' (Gn. 2:15) The world remains a kind of garden (or workshop, as some would prefer to say) entrusted to the care of men and women for God's glory and the service of humankind. In its simplest yet deepest sense, this is Christian stewardship ..."

In conclusion I would like to make a few invitations and requests for prayer. First of all, I want to invite you to Mark Shea’s presentation on How To Read the Scriptures. Mark will focus particularly on the Book of Revelation, which is so badly misinterpreted today. His talk will take place this Saturday (Nov. 17) at 10 a.m. in the Tice Hall. Secondly, I ask you to mark the Thanksgiving Day Mass on your calendar. It will be celebrated at 9 a.m. on November 22. At that Mass we will be receiving food items and the entire collection will go toward our parish St. Vincent de Paul and Madre Teresa to serve the poor in our own community. Third, St. Martha’s Sodality invites you to a free breakfast on December 2. Don’t miss this wonderful, community building event.

And prayer requests: For our bishops in their annual retreat this week. For our Parish Council, especially for wisdom regarding the Year of Discernment on the Role of Stewardship in our Parish. For our school as it advances with the Accreditation Process School Improvement Plan. And for parishioners who have died: Long-time parishioners Teresa Souza Eremita, Helen McGinley and Sofie Beyers – and for Alfredo Santillan, who died in a tragic accident. Alfredo was deeply devoted to his wife, Victoria Figueroa, and to their son, Alfredo, Jr. Alfredo was an energetic young man, who established a construction company. He died in a fall on Wednesday afternoon. In praying for Alfredo, please pray also for his wife, Vicki, for Alfredo Jr. and their second child, five months in gestation. Please also remember Alfredo’s mom and dad, who have been devoted parishioners of Holy Family for many years and who have generously raised a large family.

Yo se que todos ustedes está rezando por la familia Santillan. El día miércoles sufrieron el tragico fallecimiento de Alfredo. Rezamos en primer lugar por su señora, Victoria Figueroa, y sus hijos, Alfredo Jr y el niño por nacer en pocos meses. Tambien oramos por sus papás, Gilberto y Beatriz, todos sus hermanos, cuñados, sobrinos, tios y otros parientes. Que el Señor misericordioso les de su consuelo y fortaleza durante este tiempo tan dificil – que Dios de descanso eterno a nuestro hermano, Alfredo Santillan.

El fallecimiento de Alfredo nos hace reconocer que nuestras vidas son fragiles y que están en manos del Señor. Tenemos que dar gracias a Dios por todo momento de nuestra existencia – y usar los dones que él nos da para su gloria y bien de nuestros prójimos. Esto es tema de este mes de Mayordomia o Co-Responsabilidad. Algunos de ustedes recibieron una carta de mi sobre este tema tan importante. Si no recibiste una carta, habrá formularios disponibles este domingo. Después de escuchar el testimonio de María de Jesús, les invitaría a reflexionar sobre tu compromiso de Tiempo, Talentos y Tesoro.

La palabra mayordomía proviene del griego OIKONOMIA que significa administración, comisión, supervisión y dispensación. Viene de dos palabras griegas: OIKOS: una casa y NOMOS: ley. Los obispos católicos de Estados Unidos señalan que la mayordomía cristiana "...recibe agradecida los regalos de Dios, los cultiva responsablemente, los comparte justa y amorosamente con otros, y los devuelve acrecentados al Señor" (Ser un mayordomo cristiano).

Mayordomo, es la persona que ejerce administración sobre los bienes que un dueño le confía. DIOS ES DUEÑO ABSOLUTO : Todo es de Dios. Nada es nuestro. Dios sigue reclamando lo suyo y en el Salmo 50:10-12 dice: “ Porque mía es toda bestia del bosque y los millares de animales en los collados, conozco a todas las aves de los montes y todo lo que se mueve en los campos me pertenece; mío es el mundo y su plenitud “. EL HOMBRE ES UN SIMPLE MAYORDOMO. No elegimos ser o no ser mayordomos, nacemos para administrar lo que es de Dios.