Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Stewardship: A Theology of Discipleship
My friends in Christ, I would guess that probably most of us (likely even all of us) would agree that the year 2020 so far has been, shall we say, interesting. This has been an extraordinarily difficult year, with tensions of all sorts still pervading our lives, and yet more tensions on the horizon as elections draw near.
Yet despite all of that, our wonderful parish has managed to thrive. Sacrificial giving, sharing of time and talents, and an overall commitment to practicing and engaging in our Catholic Christian faith on the part of you, our faithful parishioners, have truly been awe-inspiring, truly heroic, truly the stuff of saints. I have no doubt that much of our success and growth in all of these areas of parish life have something to do with our growing understanding of the theology of stewardship, which as we know really is just one aspect of the overall theological of Christian discipleship.
From his first year with us as our chief shepherd of souls, one of the ways Bishop Daly has encouraged each of us to grow in our discipleship of Jesus Christ is to help us to be strengthened in our sense of stewardship. It was for this reason that he has asked the Diocese and every parish to make a deliberate pastoral and catechetical effort to emphasize our annual Stewardship Campaign as well as the Annual Catholic Appeal. And it is that time of year once again for us to reflect upon the Theology of Stewardship, mindful as always that stewardship is not something in addition to being a faithful and joyful disciple of Jesus Christ but rather in very fact is part of and integral to discipleship.
Perhaps many folks would find it helpful to know what I myself intend to do with regard to discipleship and stewardship. After all, if I am preaching this, then I had better make darn sure that I am also practicing this. For my own faith, for my own commitment to Jesus Christ, for my own commitment to His Church, and for my own overall sense of being and purpose…I need to give. I need to keep moving forward, keep up with the ministry and mission that has been entrusted to me by God, and I refuse to let up or fail in my duty.
Not all of us feel like we want to give our Time to the parish and to the diocese. We do not feel like volunteering for a Church that sometimes lets us down. Or perhaps some of us do not want to try sharing our Talents. If the Church does not appreciate my Talents, then why should I bother? Or maybe I simply do not know what my Talents are, and even if I do know what my Talents are, then I do not know how the Church or our parish can use them.
Furthermore I would venture a guess that very few of us feel like giving our hard-earned money, our Treasure, to the Church. Is my money actually going to support the various ministries and outreach efforts of my parish? And in any event, life is just so darn expensive! Perhaps that is how many of us feel about the matter of tithing; anyway, it is often how I feel. Not to mention the loss of jobs, loss of income, loss of financial security because of the pandemic and the economic and social shutdown that has resulted because of it. And I blame nobody for feeling this way. But again, all I can say is that I, personally, must keep giving of my Time, Talent, and Treasure, and that is because I believe whole-heartedly in the ministry and mission of our St. Mary parish and school, and I also believe whole-heartedly in the ministry and mission of the Diocese of Spokane and Bishop Thomas Daly.
Which is why I will casting my full support once again for the Annual Catholic Appeal, and I hope that you will join me in this annual effort to help fund the ministries and administration of Bishop Daly and the Diocese of Spokane.
Because in the end, though life gets tough and expensive and though even certain members and leaders of the Church seem to let me down at times, my faith in Jesus actually has never been as strong as it is right now. And I believe also in His Father, in His Holy Spirit, and in His Bride, the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Church. Thus, I myself must and will remain a faithful, joyful disciple of Jesus Christ, and therefore I must and will remain a faithful, joyful steward of His many gifts and blessings given to me. And it is my sincere and heartfelt hope and prayer that all of you will join me as faithful, joyful disciples and stewards of Jesus Christ.
~ Fr. Lewis
on Saturday, September 12 at 2:00PM