October 15th, 2017
The weekend of October 14th & 15th we are celebrating as Stewardship Sunday. We will be presenting the financial picture of the parish those days.
The basic principle of stewardship is that everything we have and are, except our sins, is a gift of God… Our nationality, parents, race, etc. – we did not choose any of these.
I do not, ultimately, own anything. I have the use of many things for a time, but, ultimately, I am the steward, the caretaker of what God alone owns, even my own life. One day I have to render an account of my stewardship; how did I use the gifts that God had entrusted to me.
Once I realize this ultimate truth, my instinctive response should be to give thanks to God. This can be done in many ways:
a. Participate in the Holy Mass as the most important activity of my life. It is the perfect form of worship and thanksgiving to God, made possible by Jesus, the Son Of God. This is called the stewardship of time. Do I spend my time wisely, to praise and worship God?
b. We give thanks by using and developing the gifts that God has given us, not neglecting them or under-appreciating them. It is the stewardship of talent; using and developing my talents for the good of all
c. By giving back to God, some share of what God has given to me, a first share. It is the stewardship of treasure. Today we focus on the stewardship of treasure and we will have an occasion to speak of the other stewardships at another time
d. There is also the stewardship of ecology – conservation of energy and preserving God’s creation. Pope Francis’s encyclical, Laudato Si, speaks about it as a serious Christian obligation.
Stewardship of treasure/finances: It is about giving part of our treasures to God. In the Old Testament, Israel gave the first of everything to God…first born of lambs, harvest, first measure of olive oil, first jug of wine, as well as dedicating the first of their sons to God. The people gave 10% of their income to God. It may not be easy for all. An old archbishop used to say we should give 5% to the Church and other 5% to other charitable causes.
How do we start? Give gross salary of an hour a week that is 1/40th of what one has. At the beginning of the year plan your finances to give a percentage to God. Make it part of your priority. Give what we treasure to God; not our leftover or not what we do not need. The poor widow in the Gospel gave all she had (two cents!)
You give because you want to give; you love to give; not because the Church needs your gift. The Church will muddle along somehow. The basis of our decision is our need to give, to show our gratitude to God. It is part of our spiritual growth; it is an investment for us in the kingdom of heaven. It is not about fund raising. It springs up from your need to share what you have with God and with one another. I do not know what you contribute. That is between God and you.
— Father Augustine