This Sunday we celebrate Stewardship Sunday. This Sunday offers us the opportunity to reflect on how God has given each of us time, talent and treasure in order to share our faith especially through this Church community.
HOPE IN THE RESURRECTION
I would like to begin by reflecting on our readings. The first reading is an excerpt from the Second Book of Maccabees written in about 124 BC in which seven brothers and their mother witness to their faith in God before they are executed. Each of the brothers and their mother believe that God will raise them up for their faithfulness in keeping the law. This Reading reminds us that just as in the case of the mother and her sons in the reading, our choices are also important as we draw near to the resurrection of the dead.
In the Gospel today the Sadducees approach Jesus in order to trap him in speech. The Sadducees were a group who did not believe in the resurrection. They try to prove that the resurrection is illogical by going to the Book of the Deuteronomy and speaking of what is called the Levirate marriage. A Levirate marriage referred to the circumstance in which a husband dies and he and his wife are childless. The wife is required to marry each of the brothers of the husband until one of them raises up an heir to the original husband. The Sadducees say that this makes it impossible to determine who will be married to whom in heaven. Jesus is saying that the Sadducees do not understand heaven from God’s perspective. To the Sadducees the way they understand heaven is the only way it can be understood. They can’t go beyond their own lack of understanding. This is pride.
Jesus attempts to help the Sadducees grow in faith. His point is that all of those who die with faith in God continue to live in God. Jesus uses the story of the burning bush to show that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob continue to live in God. Thus the kingdom of God is hope of eternal life for all humans. May we, men and women of faith, understand our mission to share this God given gift with others.
STEWARDSHIP OF PASTOR
Since this Sunday is Stewardship Sunday I will reflect on the meaning of this day. First, I commit myself and the parish staff to being Good Stewards of the treasure and talent of our parish. I define the leadership of a pastor as helping people to fully live out their faith. In order to do this the parish has begun a parish planning process. I look forward to working in a deliberate way with the Parish Pastoral Council to write a Three-Year Plan which will help the parish to do just that, to fully live out its faith.
STEWARDSHIP OF PARISHIONERS
Each of us has been blessed by God with various gifts. We are called to develop those gifts and give them back to God with increase. How have we been good stewards in using the gifts God has given us?
In speaking to various parishioners, I am hearing a similar theme. Many parishioners would like new ministries which meet current needs such as a ministry for young adults. Many others have also mentioned that they would like more parishioners to be involved in the ministries which exist. I share their concerns. This new plan will offer parishioners the opportunity to be involved in parish ministries. This should both build up our parish and offer fulfillment to the lives of these parishioners.. After the first of the year the parish will have a parish ministry fair to both introduce current ministries to parishioners and to invite parishioners to become involved in parish ministry.
God blesses us not only with our talents but also with our finances. Since these are gifts of God, we are called to give them back to God with increase. The church asks that we tithe to our parish. We are called to give 10% of our income. I ask that you give 5% of your income to your church community and 5% to other valued charities.
I end my homily by stating my gratitude for your generosity. The parish is very blessed with a talented staff, with beautiful liturgies and strong ministry. This is all made possible through your generosity. I believe that our parish will continue to grow. This Sunday I give thanks to God for the ways that God continues to bless this parish. I give thanks not only to God but also to each of you for your generosity in giving your time, talent and treasure.