The Christian vocation is essentially a call to be a disciple of Jesus. Stewardship is part of that. Christians are called to be good stewards of the personal vocations they receive. Each of us must discern, accept and live out joyfully and generously the commitments, responsibilities, and roles to which God calls us. Jesus not only calls each of us to him, but also forms us and sends us out in his service. He knows our personal histories, our strengths and weaknesses, our destinies; he has a purpose in mind for each one of us.
As your priests, Fr. Ik and I have presented you the mission, vision and strategy of St. James Church. Our mission is to give you the tools so you can grow to spiritual maturity and become more Christlike so you can help others establish their eternal relationship with God. Our mission is to change the life of every person that comes through our door, to give them back hope and to restore their life so they can experience the joy, love and peace that they long for. Our strategy is to reach out to disconnected Catholics in the South Bay Region (Torrance, Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes).
These past three weeks we gave you an overview of what it means to be a Wise Christian Steward. To summarize, a Wise Christian Steward is one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord.We are a thriving and vibrant parish and we want to continue the success we have had in changing the lives of the many people with diverse backgrounds that come through our door.
Your increased offertory will allow us the opportunity to continue to meet and serve the emerging needs of our parishioners.
There are many gifts among us! When we embrace Stewardship and call forth and nurture the gifts of all people, our parish thrives and becomes a living testimony to our faith. The ministries our parishes would be able to offer and the number of people affected by those ministries can be an incredible witness to the Spirit working within and among us. What we say here is directed to ourselves as much as to you who read these words. Fr. Ik and I are aware of our obligation to be models of stewardship in all aspects of our lives. We must be stewards in our prayer and worship, in how we fulfill our pastoral duties, in our custody of the Church’s doctrine, spiritual resources, personnel, and funds, in our life-style and use of time, and even in such matters as the attention we give to personal health and recreation.
Finally, each time we have the Eucharistic Celebration, we take into our hands a small piece of bread which is the body of Christ and a small cup with wine which is the blood of Christ. Our partaking of the body and blood of Christ reveal the deepest meaning of our faith. During this long awaited Commitment Sunday when we take an ordinary pencil and a small pledge card, these symbolize the high and holy commitment we make in response to the love God has given each of us as we answer the question, “What percentage of my source of income is God calling me to give this year to continue to change people’s lives?”
As we ask you to respond to the challenge of stewardship, we pray that we also will be open to the grace to respond. We pray that the Holy Spirit, whose gracious action conforms us to Jesus Christ and to the Church, will enlighten us all and help us to renew our commitment as the Lord’s disciples and as stewards of his bountiful gifts.