STEWARDSHIP 2021 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
How do you imagine that the world will end?
- Maybe it will be hit by a comet or an asteroid and will explode in fire
- Maybe it will explode from its core because of some kind of chain reaction.
- Maybe some foolish human activity will trigger something and it will explode
If you had the opportunity, would you really want to know how the world will end and when that will happen?
Those questions are the basis for today’s gospel.
Description of the Temple
Jesus and his disciples are sitting under an olive tree on the Mount of Olives.
- The Mount of Olives is located across the Kedron Valley east of the temple.
- The disciples were admiring the size and the beauty of the temple of Jerusalem.
- Even by modern standards it was a spectacular structure.
- The courtyard of the temple measured two football fields wide by four football fields long.
- It sat on a 90-foot-high foundation.
- Surrounding the perimeter of the courtyard was a colonnade that rose three stories above the foundation.
- Located in the center of the courtyard was the sanctuary.
- The sanctuary was a rectangular building that measured 15 stories high and was faced with white marble and gold.
- The historian Josephus wrote that when the sun rose in the east and shown on the temple, it literally glowed with the fire of God.
The end of the world
Jesus tells them, “you better look at it now because before long not one stone will be left upon another. It will be reduced to a pile of rubble.”
- The obvious question is when is this going to happen.
- Jesus then tells them that the world will come to an end in a giant fiery cataclysm.
- They must have been stunned by his words as they gazed at the Temple lying before them.
It is obvious from Jesus’ response that the answer is a secret locked in the heart of God the Father.
The gospel today reminds us of two things.
First it reminds us that no matter when or how, the world will someday come to an end.
- It will not go on forever.
- Similarly, our world will come to an end when we die.
Second, it reminds us that everything is gift and belongs to God.
- The day will come when we have to return everything back to God.
- God gives us things to use, but they don’t belong to us.
- They belong to him.
- Even our very life belongs to God.
- The day will come when we will need to surrender life itself back to God in the moment of our death.
Everything is a gift from God
This weekend our parish continues to reflect upon stewardship and God’s place in our life.
- At the heart of stewardship is the principle that all we have comes from God.
- Each of us is made in his image and likeness.
- Our life comes from him. In a very real way, we are not our own; we belong to God.
- Everything that we have comes from him.
- That means the things we have are not our own either.
- We really do not own them; we just steward them.
- God gives us things to use.
- Even our talents and our abilities are not our own. They have been given to us by God as he formed our personality.
- Think about it this way:
- 1.) it is by God’s grace that I have the talents and ability to do my job.
- 2.) it is by God’s grace that I have my health in order to do my job and provide for my family and their needs.
- 3.). It is even by God’s grace that I have a job.
Love means giving and receiving
God provides for us and gives us so much because he loves us.
- All he asks is that in gratitude we make a return to him.
- Love requires that a person gives.
- Think about this for a moment: within our families if all we do is take, take, take that really isn’t love.
- To the contrary, love requires that we give as well as receive.
Abundance vs. Scarcity
Unfortunately, most of us hear the word “Stewardship”, we think that it means, “Give the Church more money “.
- That’s really not what stewardship is all about.
- Stewardship is about God‘s abundance and our trust in that abundance.
- Last week we heard stories about two widows who gave everything they had because they trusted in God‘s abundance.
- However, most of us live our lives on the level of scarcity.
- In other words, there may not be enough to take care of my needs and the needs of my family.
- God, on the other hand who is the Creator of everything and Lord of all exists on the level of abundance.
- God can never run out of things; God can never run out of good things to give us because he is abundance itself.
- God will never say, “sorry, I can’t help you. I’ve already given away all of my store of good health or wisdom or financial resources to your neighbor. So, you will need to try again later!”
- God‘s abundance is there in its fullness for each and every one of us for the asking.
- Because God is good to us and blesses us from his abundance we choose to give back to him out of gratitude.
- In other words, stewardship is about giving back to God what is already his out of gratitude for his blessings.
This weekend is Stewardship Commitment weekend in our parish.
- In a moment I’m going to ask you to consider making a commitment to the parish for the coming year by filling out a pledge or intention card.
- Be mindful of God‘s generosity to you and the blessings that you have received.
- Let your commitment to Saint Patrick’s be a sign of your gratitude to the Lord for his goodness.
- Commitment cards and pens and pencils are located along the center aisle.
- Let’s take a moment to pray together the stewardship prayer.
- Turn the card over and at the top fill out your name address and necessary information and then prayerfully consider what your commitment to Saint Patrick’s will be for this coming year.
- Consider automatic withdraw.
- Place the completed intention or pledge card in the collection as the basket is passed. We will place those in front of the altar as a sign to the Lord of your commitment.
- Please return any unused commitment cards as well as pens and pencils to the center aisle.