Reeson’s Ramblings :: August 20, 2017
The strongman at a circus sideshow demonstrated his power before a large audience. Toward the end, he squeezed the juice from a lemon between his hands. He then said to the audience, “I will offer $200 to anyone in the audience who can squeeze another drop from this lemon.
A thin scholarly-looking woman came forward, picked up the lemon, strained hard and managed to get several drops. The strongman was amazed. He paid the woman and asked, “What is the secret of your strength?” “Practice,” the woman answered. “I was the business manager of St. Columbkille Parish for thirty-two years!”
Whenever I speak of Stewardship, people tend to clutch their wallets thinking I am going to next be squeezing them for money. The four pillars of Stewardship are actually Hospitality, Prayer, Formation, and Service, and the purpose is not to raise money. St. Columbkille parish has been considered a stewardship parish since 1979.
Last week on our parish Deacon/Priest retreat, we talked extensively about better promoting Stewardship as a way of life at St. Columbkille. I trust that you have and will continue to hear about Stewardship in our homilies as it often times in with the scriptures.
The Bishops of the United States created a document 25 years ago and a summary of the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on Stewardship follows.
“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
What identifies a steward? Safeguarding material and human resources and using them responsibly are one answer; so is generous giving of time, talent, and treasure. But being a Christian steward means more. As Christian stewards, we receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.
Disciples as Stewards
Let us begin with being a disciple—a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ. As members of the Church, Jesus calls us to be disciples. This has astonishing implications:
- Mature disciples make a conscious decision to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost.
- Christian disciples experience conversion—life-shaping changes of mind and heart—and commit their very selves to the
- Christian stewards respond in a particular way to the call to be a disciple. Stewardship has the power to shape and mold our understanding of our lives and the way in which we live.
Jesus’ disciples and Christian stewards recognize God as the origin of life, giver of freedom, and source of all things. We are grateful for the gifts we have received and are eager to use them to show our love for God and for one another. We look to the life and teaching of Jesus for guidance in living as Christian stewards.
Stewards of Creation
The Bible contains a profound message about the stewardship of material creation: God created the world, but entrusts it to human beings. Caring for and cultivating the world involves the following:
- Joyful appreciation for the God-given beauty and wonder of nature;
- Protection and preservation of the environment, which would be the stewardship of ecological concern;
- Respect for human life—shielding life from threat and assault, doing everything that can be done to enhance this gift and make life flourish; and
- Development of this world through noble human effort—physical labor, the trades and professions, the arts and sciences. We call such effort “work.” Work is a fulfilling human vocation.
The Second Vatican Council points out that, through work, we build up not only our world but the Kingdom of God, already present among us. Work is a partnership with God—our share in a divine human collaboration in creation. It occupies a central place in our lives as Christian stewards.