Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I Jeremiah 1:4-5, 17-18
Psalm 71: 1-6. 15-17
Reading II I Corinthians 12:31-13:13
Gospel Luke 4:21-30
There are three gifts that bring us here this morning. Those three gifts are faith, hope and love. If we have faith in God then our heart is moved with love and when we have love we have the courage to follow, to believe, and to serve. So this weekend as we think about our gift of stewardship we are not thinking about what everybody can do for us. It is what God is wanting us to do for someone else?
Once we understand that we were not put on this earth to be served but to serve, then as we go through life, and even as a small child, we learn very quickly that if you are nice to someone there is a good chance they will respect you. But if you try and bully someone you never come out ahead.
Sometimes we like to be served and God says, “There’s no joy in that. There’s no happiness in that. The joy that you want in your life has to come when you give of yourself to someone else.” When we have a parish family, that’s what it all depends upon — it depends upon all of us recognizing our gifts and then saying, “OK, God. You gave me this gift. Now what am I going to do with it? I can just keep it for myself and think how wonderful I am. Or I can reach out to someone else and make a difference.”
You will soon be viewing a video. This video includes people from our parish sharing spontaneously. No one was given a script, none of us were in the room at the same time, but it is the ingenuity of the gift of Frank Cann who put all of this together in this video. It certainly is not my gift because I could never have put this together. But it is the gift of Frank Cann and you can see his work and how meaningful this video is for all of us.
That’s what we mean by stewardship. I don’t need that gift. Someone else has that gift. I have to use my gift to make a difference and serve you. So I just ask, as we watch this, to realize that all of us could be in this video, but I don’t think you’d want to sit here for three hours. The message will get across that we are a family, we are a people of faith, we have a strong, open belief in one another, and the love that is manifest with a smile, a gesture, a handshake, a concern — those are the gifts we are talking about. These are the gifts that make us a family and what we experience here, is also what we experience at home.
So I invite you now to now watch the video, to let it speak to you, and then together we will make our response.
A video was shown in which members of Blessed Sacrament Parish shared their stories of how their gifts of stewardship of time, talent and treasure enrich their own lives, and at the same time enrich our parish family.
Sharolyn Rice and Ann Gage are going to welcome us. Just so you are comfortable with what is going to happen, they are going to be standing here with a basket and we are going to ask you to come forward pew by pew, and place your envelope in one of the baskets. And then notice what Sharolyn and Ann will do: They will take their baskets and put the envelopes in the large bowl. This bowl will be here next weekend. We are going to reach out and if someone forgot, we are going to gently call everybody in the parish so we will know that everyone has received the message that we are to wash feet. If somebody is hesitant to wash feet, we will come wash their feet. We want you to know, this is the only way to live the Gospel.
As your pastor, I, too, am involved in stewardship. Obviously, my life is to serve you and so it is my job. It is also my job to give a portion of my income. So I place this envelope in front of you into this basket. We all need to do this. There is no exception to be a part of God’s family. So as we do this may we pray and realize the power and the strength that comes into each of us from being a part of this parish.
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Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.
TASCAM DR 40 file 0031)