Stewardship: Sharing Our Treasures with the Poor

03-02-2024Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

My Dear Friends,

The three spiritual activities recommended for us to embrace during the Lenten seasons are Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. In one of my previous articles, I reflected on Prayer as an important component of Stewardship. In this article, I would like to reflect on the aspect of almsgiving in the context of sharing our treasures with the poor.

As I pondered more and more on almsgiving and stewardship, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Lk. 16:19-31 came to my mind. In this well-known parable, we are presented with a rich man who had everything, materially speaking. We are told this man feasted sumptously every day while at his very feet lay Lazarus, a poor man who was starving. He was too busy feasting to notice Lazarus. After both died, Lazarus was ushered into eternal joy while the rich man was condemned to torment. When we reflect on this parable, we realize that the rich man was condemned not because he was rich but because he neglected to take care of the poor Lazarus.

Dear friends, almsgiving, during this Lenten season, invites us to pay special attention to the poor Lazarus of this world and to share what we have with them. You see, God has given us what is sufficient to take care of our needs and also to tithe a portion of it back to Him through the poor among us. Indeed, we still have the poor among us and therefore, we still have the obligation to give our 10% back to God through Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, our Church. I will share more about tithing, specifically, in another article.

The amazing thing with our God which I would like to point out, is that He will always replenish what we share with others, especially with the poor, because if we do, He will trust us even more to reach out to many more who are in need on His behalf. Yes, the Lord trusts good stewards and because He trusts them, He is always willing to give them more. I have personally experienced this in my own life, many times. One such example among many, which I would like to share with you, is the experience I had when my then religious superior suddenly transferred me from Uganda to come and work here in the United States. He told me to be ready to move within three months. I was totally confused and a little bit upset wondering how I was going to get money to pay the tuition of twelve orphans who were depending on me for their education during that short period of time. Being right in the middle of the year, I had barely managed to raise the money for their second semester and was preparing to negotiate with their principal to allow them study while I struggled to raise the remaining money. Faced with this challenge, I erred on the side of obedience and decided to take the risk of totally emptying the little savings in my bank account so as to pay the tuition for their third semester before I came. After that, I resolved to leave everything in the hands of God’s providence. So, when I entered the United States of America, I had only $100 in my pocket. However, the rest as they say, is now history because God found a way of not only providing for the remaining money for these 12 orphans but also through me, He has continued to help many other orphans now in their hundreds in Uganda through E3 Africa, the non-profit which I helped found here in the United States of America.

Yes, when I say God is totally amazing, I know what that means from experience. We can never outdo Him in generosity. We, therefore, have to always remember that we do not have to give Him our leftovers or whatever we do not need and can do without but rather we must share our first and best, in other words, our first fruits of the harvest, our priority. Trust me, if we do, He will trust us back in return, enough to repay us a hundred-fold.

Before, I conclude, I would like to give you a little update on our Adoration Chapel. At the time of writing of this article, our project is still awaiting approval after being returned for re-submission to the city two weeks ago. While it is our hope that the final approval papers will be received in the next couple of days, let us continue to pray for a speedy and positive outcome. When we get this approval, we hope to break ground as soon as possible and we shall always keep you informed.

In the meantime, let us go forth and make Stewardship a way of life here in our parish by sharing our treasures with the poor.

I love you!