A Message from Monsignor Jay…
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
What do you think of when you think of stewardship: money, care for your home or car, care for your family, care for creation? It is all of these and much more. Stewardship is about us. It is a way of life, a perspective on life that understands that all that we have, the great and the small, belongs to God who has entrusted everything to us for our good and the glory of His Name.
Our stewardship is an expression of our hearts’ gratitude to God for the blessings he bestows upon us and for his love and mercy that sustains us each day. Without a sense of gratitude, we cannot be good stewards. We begin to think and act like everything in our lives belongs to us because we have earned it. This sense of self-entitlement leads us down the path of the steward that we read about in today’s Gospel. He thought he could use his mater’s goods in any way he wanted. The Gospel says he “squandered” them. He treated them like his own and for his profit and failed to use them for the purpose they were entrusted to him. Even though the steward wins his master’s admiration for the way he used his master’s goods to hopefully provide for his future, the parable does not indicate that he regained his master’s confidence or his position of responsibility. He is, in the end, a failed steward.
Failed stewardship is a betrayal of trust that causes anger and hurt. We experienced this in the aftermath of the last year’s revelations that some bishops, priests, deacons, and church employees betrayed their responsibility for the salvation of souls and the proclamation of the Gospel. Unfortunately, their failure caused many to separate themselves from Christ in the sacraments, and exile themselves from the church. The church ministers’ betrayal of trust is part of the suffering of Christ’s Cross. Christ, who healed the sick, and died and rose from the dead, remains with his church today to lead, guide and reestablish it in holiness. The stewardship of the church is best expressed in a commitment to carry out its mission with vitality and purpose: “To proclaim the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”
We should not let anyone’s failure in stewardship define us. It is Jesus who calls us to be good stewards of the treasures he has bestowed upon us, including his church. I hope that in these weeks of stewardship renewal that all of us will pray and reflect upon our stewardship of God’s gifts and seek to be the good stewards Christ trusts us to be. Will we be grateful stewards who seek to use God’s blessings in ways that strengthen our church for its mission to: “Go and teach all nations”?
Although it is important, financial support of the church is not the only dimension of stewardship of faith. Praying for the church and with the church on Sundays and daily in your homes is an important part of stewardship. Making the time to participate in one of our parish’s many ministries is a practice of good stewardship that can provide much fulfillment and joy. Developing your understanding of our church’s teachings and preparing to share them with others is a characteristic of good stewardship. Stewardship asks the question: What is in your heart and soul?
May God’s Peace be yours,