Everyday Stewardship

08-30-2020Stewardship ReflectionCatholic Stewardship Consultants

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.”

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Once Again: NO

08-30-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

NO ON PROPOSITION 207 in November. We go down the road again of another attempt in Arizona to legalize recreational use marijuana. We have legal “medical” marijuana in AZ and in the last general election a ballot proposition to legalize recreational use marijuana failed. But the multi-million-dollar megacorporation cannabis industry will not give up. And neither should we give up defeating Proposition 207 in November. Make no mistake, for the cannabis industry it is all about profits. And those handsome profits are concentrated in a handful of marijuana growers and investors, all rich white folk, like former Speaker of the House John Boehner, who especially target poor and minority communities to sell their poison and maximize their profit.

I have previously written about this issue extensively but it may be time for a review of the facts versus the myths. This Proposition will be sold to you as “smart and safe”. It is neither. That of course is how legalized medical marijuana was sold to the voters of AZ. But what has happened since its legalization?

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ASU School of Magic Part II

08-23-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

Call it amazing, after last week’s letter, but it’s really not amazing since we are now dealing with ASU School of Magic, but presto, an email came from ASU Human Resources stating that: ASU has partnered with the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide free drive-thru COVID-19 testing at sites around the Valley and the state to all Family and Friends of ASU. I guess with one wave of the wand (or maybe it was the fork), the Headmaster magically produced COVID-19 Saliva tests with a 48hr turn around and made them available to the community. I suspected all along that of all the University Presidents in the USA, this one had the elder wand. And he did. I guess all other Universities really should fear the fork.

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ASU School of Magic

08-16-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

By my count, as of this writing we are in day 36 of a record breaking streak of 110+ temps. The previous record was 33 days. And up we go for days to come. But what is coming down is our COVID-19 positivity rate in Arizona and even more in Maricopa County. Good news. Maybe. Except. But.

Right now, 100,000+ students are moving into Tempe, South Scottsdale, Downtown Phoenix from all over the country and the world to start a new semester at ASU. But I have been assured that they will not, will not raise the COVID-19 positivity rate in Maricopa County. You might find that hard to believe. I did. It took some convincing. But it is true. Sort of. In an underhanded way only a state-run bureaucracy could come up with.

You see Arizona State University has its own COVID-19 testing and lab. Lots and lots of it. Actually, I find that irritating. Why is it that this tax-payer funded University didn't share their testing and lab with the community when we needed it most? So much for being a good community partner. I guess ASU does not play well with others.

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Everyday Stewardship

08-13-2020Stewardship Reflection

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.

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Aloha AOC

08-09-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This hit where it hurt. I wrote my own take on this but my pen turned way too poisonous. It was dripping red with sarcasm, uncharity, acerbic adjectives. But as I have been saying for a while, this is the Age of Aquarius and everyone is being revealed for who they truly are. In this case the US Congresswoman from NY, who maligned, insulted, disparaged St. Damien, (my dearest patron) reveals herself as, well, see I can’t go there so I will let the Defender of all things Catholic, Bill Donohue from the Catholic League, say it much more diplomatically:

Dear Rep. Ocasio-Cortez:

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Everyday Stewardship

08-09-2020Stewardship Reflection

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.

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Be Transformed by the Renewal of your Minds

08-02-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

At times when our thinking gets twisted our actions can become equally contorted. Two current hot potato issues that demonstrate this are facemasks and police.

So, to mask or not to mask, that is the question (my apologies to Shakespeare). The single biggest justification for wearing a face covering that I hear repeatedly, is that when you wear a face mask (properly) you are protecting other people and therefore it is a charitable act. When it is put in that way, rather than saying, when you wear a face mask you are protecting yourself regardless of what other people do, it creates a lot of hostility and judgment towards those who are not wearing a face mask. And that has led to self-appointed mask police.

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Everyday Stewardship

08-02-2020Stewardship Reflection

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.

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