Today’s readings are all about relationships. Among the many lessons we have learned from the global pandemic is the deep importance of the relationships and communities in our lives. Our families, neighbors, friends and parish family need us, and we need them to be our best selves.
St. Paul gives us simple instruction in our second reading from Romans to guide us in our dealings with others, reminding us what Christ Himself taught: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is the overarching principal that guides us to be good stewards of our relationships.
In our Gospel passage from Matthew, Jesus further refines this instruction on good stewardship of our relationships, even when they involve conflict. He says, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”READ MORE
Let’s be honest. If we are striving to live the stewardship way of life, it’s not going to be easy. Dying to self and living for Christ and others is tough. It’s the work of a lifetime. But in the end, it’s the only work that really matters and the only life that truly satisfies.
Our Gospel passage, from Matthew, reflects this challenging reality. Jesus tells His disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” This sounds harsh. Why would anyone want to do this?
Our Lord has the answer, of course. “Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”READ MORE
Our Gospel today, from Matthew, reminds us to trust in Him even when it seems He is not answering our prayers.
God wants to lead us to the joy of heaven to spend eternity with Him. For that, we must be strong in faith and live our lives as an act of love and gratitude to Him. In other words, we must allow Him to transform us into saints. This is what the stewardship way of life is meant to do. Sometimes, that will feel painful to us. Often, it will be challenging.
Jesus certainly challenged the Canaanite woman in today’s Gospel passage from Matthew. She called out to Him on behalf of her daughter, who was being tormented by a demon. What did Jesus do in reply to this mother’s desperate plea? Nothing. He “did not say a word in answer to her.” Undeterred, the woman continues to call out to Him, yet He still does not give her what she asks for. Instead, He continues to challenge her faith.READ MORE
Stewardship spirituality invites us to surrender control of our lives to God in grateful recognition of the simple fact that all we have is a gift from Him.
Today’s readings illustrate what amazing things can happen when we fully invite God to take charge of our lives by embracing the stewardship way of life.
When we take our eyes off God, we fail to see that all we have is a gift from Him. We lose trust in the Lord and we do not make our lives a grateful response to Him.
Peter makes this mistake in our Gospel passage from Matthew. Jesus sends the disciples in a boat ahead of Him to the other side of the shore. Later that evening, Jesus casually strolls up to the boat, walking on the sea. He invites Peter to join Him. As Peter begins to walk on the water, he momentarily takes his eyes off Jesus to notice the strong wind surrounding them. With that, he sinks.READ MORE
Today’s readings should inspire the Christian steward with deepened gratitude to our God, Who loves us with such fierce and tender love. We must make an intentional response every day to return love for Love. In our Second Reading, from Romans, St. Paul reminds us that nothing and nobody can keep God from loving us. No anguish, distress, persecution, famine… and we might add pandemic, economic loss, relationship strife — nothing — can keep our God from His faithful love for us. God has got us in the palm of His hand.
And yet, this reassurance is only the beginning of God’s gifts to us. Our Gospel passage from Matthew recounts the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and #sh. This of course, is a foreshadowing of the miraculous gift the Eucharist, which feeds us not with bread but with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus.READ MORE
The stewardship way of life could be described as a daily pursuit of the kingdom of heaven. In our Gospel passage from Matthew today, Jesus employs three parables to describe this kingdom.
In the first of today’s parables, our Lord reminds us that living for Him and for His kingdom will be costly. But the deep joy that comes in following Him makes the “price” entailed worth it. Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Next, He says the kingdom of heaven is “like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all he has and buys it.”READ MORE
Today’s Gospel passage from Matthew is filled with lessons both cautionary and consoling for the Christian steward as Jesus uses several parables to describe the kingdom of heaven and our role in it.
First, He compares it to a field where both wheat and weeds have been sown. Both weeds and wheat are permitted to grow and only at the harvest time are they separated, or “judged” — the wheat gathered into the sower’s barn and the weeds finally destroyed. So it will be for each of us at the end of our time on earth. It is a sobering reminder of the justice of God.
Next, He says the kingdom of heaven is like the small portion of yeast that is mixed in with "our for the making of bread. The yeast makes up an insignificant fraction of the ingredients, yet it is vital to the outcome — without that tiny bit of yeast, the bread simply will not rise. Similarly, He compares the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed, “the smallest of all the seeds.” But when it is full-grown it becomes the largest of all the plants, a sturdy and hardy bush where “birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”READ MORE
Mean What You Say
Missouri is known as the “Show Me” state. There seem to be differing points of view as to how this motto came into existence, but today it is said to speak of a people who operate with common sense and are not easily fooled by slick-talking or show. We would be prudent to adopt such a disposition ourselves. To be this way is not really like St. Thomas in the Gospel when he doubts what he clearly sees right in front of him. It is more about holding ourselves to a standard explained in another motto: “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
If we claim to be Christians, disciples of the risen Jesus, then those around us should be able to tell by our actions. Can someone truly be a disciple of Jesus and not be a good steward of all he has given? Jesus makes himself known to us continually in the Holy Eucharist. When we come together to break bread at Mass, Jesus shows us his love by becoming truly present to us. He is willing to show us. What are we in turn willing to show him?READ MORE
Today is the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord. For centuries we as Catholics celebrated this Feast on Jan 6, but the decision was made a number of years ago (at least in the United States) to celebrate the Epiphany on the Sunday which falls between Jan 2 and Jan 8.READ MORE