This weekend the Church celebrates the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel passage begins with Jesus giving the crowds a warning to be aware of those who make a show of religion and yet live their lives in an unacceptable manner. As Jesus observes donations being made to the treasury, he uses that action as an example. Many rich people put in large sums but a poor widow puts in two small coins. Jesus commends the widow for her contribution because she has given from her poverty. He says that in doing so, she has given much more than the others combined who have given of their surplus. How can that be? If we understand the true meaning of stewardship, we understand what Jesus is saying. Stewardship is about being so grateful to God for all he has given us that we are compelled to give back to God in return. Out of deep gratitude for all the ways in which we are blessed by God, we make a commitment to give to God our first and our best: our time, our talent and our treasure. In placing God first, we fully trust in him that he will take care of us and our needs. Today, Jesus might present us with a different kind of example to make the same point. He doesn’t really explain what surplus is – surplus can be a great or small amount. For example, suppose a person has saved $500.00 for an item and that person manages to get it on sale for $400.00. He has a surplus of $100.00. And then another person saves $500.00 for a different item and spends $450.00 for it. His surplus is $50.00; if you look only at actual figures, his surplus appears to be less. Now, suppose both of those individuals are contributing to their parish Church. The first brings in a monthly paycheck of $4,500.00 and his frame of mind is that, after meeting all his needs and desires, he will donate his surplus (which ends up being $100.00) this month to the Church. He is tithing 2.2%. On the other hand, the second individual isn’t thinking about his surplus; he makes $2,000.00 a month and budgets and commits $25.00 each Sunday (or $100.00 a month) before spending money on his own needs and desires. That person is tithing 5%. The monetary figures representing giving in both examples are the same, but the second individual is truly giving and sacrificing more, and his motivation for giving is far different. Even though the Gospel goes beyond speaking about money and points us in the direction of putting God first in our lives and depending upon God for all that we have, it does have much to do with stewardship of treasure. Each year, we need to reflect upon our own stewardship. Are we giving back to God a token amount? Are we giving God our leftovers? Or are we being as generous to God as he has been to us, trusting that he will continue to take care of us? It is not the amount that makes a difference. It is what is truly in one’s heart that makes a difference. I am looking for individuals in our parish who are willing to be part of a Stewardship Commission, one of the commissions we have yet to form. If you wholeheartedly believe in the concept of stewardship, practice it in your own life, and are willing to give some of your time to the parish (perhaps 4 meetings a year), please let me know of your interest in possibly serving on the Stewardship Commission.
Please join us for 8:30 AM Mass this Thursday, November 12, as we celebrate the Memorial feast of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr. Refreshments will be served after Mass.
The Parish Pastoral Council along with the Education and Worship Commission members will gather for Mass this Tuesday at 6:30 PM at the Saint John the Baptist Church site. Afterwards, they will have their regular monthly meetings. The Pastoral Council and Education Commission will enter into the Selection process for Officers for the coming year. Finance Council and Christian Service and Worship Commissions have already gone through the Selection Process. Selection is different from election in that names of those willing to serve in any of the offices (Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, or Secretary) are placed in a container, and after prayer to the Holy Spirit, names are drawn for each office. Please see the results of the Selection Process in today’s bulletin. Also, do plan on joining us for Mass if you are able.
Blessings on your week!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ