After some weeks of preparation, we have arrived at Commitment Sunday for our annual Stewardship Drive. Very appropriately, we have listened to the Parable of the Talents. It will help us overcome the last obstacle to Stewardship. Many say, “I want to be a good Steward, to help others, support my parish. But I don’t have anything to give.”
If you feel you have little to offer, I understand how you feel. Nevertheless, I have to point out that that was the attitude of the man who received one Talent. He felt defeated before he started. In the end, Jesus spoke harshly to him. The truth is when you and I really want something, we find the means. If someone wants a new car or cable TV with 100 channels, they discover a way. If a person wants to change the color of their hair, they somehow find the time and the money.
Last year eleven million people in our country went to doctors not for medical treatment – but for cosmetic surgery. They wanted to remove a wrinkle or a bit of fat, lift up some part of the body or lower another. The amount of time, skill, pain and money expended on cosmetic surgery is enormous. Last year, we Americans spent around thirteen billion dollars on those procedures. That is twice the amount spent to maintain all the parish schools in the United States. If we really want something, we find the money, the time – and are willing to undergo considerable suffering to obtain the desired result.
Cosmetic surgery is not against God’s law, but you have to ask if this is the best way to spend one’s resources. It’s a little sad to see a forty year so desperate to have the face and the figure of an eighteen year old. Wouldn't it be so much better if we could understand what the Bible says about beauty? Our Old Testament reading tells us that it consists in three things: a gentle word, diligent effort and, above all, care for the afflicted. The person who has those things will always be attractive.
Jesus gives you and me what we need for each stage of our lives. He puts into our hands the talents we can really use. To one his give five, to another three and to a third only one. He wants us to invest them well and if we do, he will give us greater responsibility. He will put more resources in our hands. Why? So we can retire in Arizona? I don’t think so. He gives us more resources, greater opportunities so we can help the poor and support the mission of the Church.
Our parish needs your Stewardship. It makes possible the sacramental life (and other parish ministries) by maintaining our church and other buildings, as well as paying the employees who administer the parish. We need a part of your economic resources – as well as your volunteer help. The blue card will help you select an area where you can volunteer. The light brown card is for your financial commitment.
My goal as pastor is that each of you tithe, that is, give your first fruits, ten percent to the Lord. I do not ask for the entire ten percent, but that you give five percent to the parish and the other five percent to other charities such as Catholic radio, Birthright, the Annual Appeal, the Missions or even the Mary Bloom Center. This is a commitment which begins this month and continues through November of next year.
I understand that circumstances might change. You might lose a job or suffer some setback. Maybe in that case, the parish will need to help you. At the same time, Bill Gates might call you to work at Microsoft and you will have more to give. All I ask is that you make a commitment based on your present circumstances.
If you genuinely cannot give anything – and I know some are in that situation – I ask you to do this: Fill out the card and make a commitment to say one decade of the rosary each day for the parish – or even one Our Father. If you make a commitment today, God will bless you, putting ever greater responsibility in your hands. And you will hear those beautiful words: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
From Archives (for Thirty-Third Ordinary Sunday, Year A):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Bulletin (Two Reasons for Stewardship, Tithing Testimony - concluded)
Parish Picture Album
(police investigation of bell stolen from parish, November 3)
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