From Our Pastor: 24th Sunday In Ordinary Time
The power and depth of these readings this weekend are too much to synthesize into a small bulletin article. The Lord is fed up with the Israelites and today Moses intercedes on their behalf to bring His mercy. But also this statement is a reminder to us, who are not unlike the Israelites in turning back to our sinful ways, and of God’s promises to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Paul tells Timothy that Christ came into the world to save sinners, which is the fulfillment of the promises to the patriarchs. Then Jesus tells us the stories of seeking the lost: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son. The prodigal son story is so familiar, but don’t ever let it become mundane. Read this reading regularly and remind yourself of the arms of the loving Father waiting for you in the faith, most especially in confession, and also in the moment of our death that we pray we fall into the arms of the loving Father.
Today is the first Sunday of our annual parish-wide Stewardship Renewal. This is the time of year when we make our written commitments to prayer, parish ministries, and offertory giving – our time, talent, and treasure. We do this after taking time to re-evaluate our faith lives, our relationship with God, and our service to each other in our daily lives. I want to underscore the importance of this time of Renewal - not just for our parish, but for each of you individually.
Some of you may wonder why we need to fill out a Commitment Card every year. In response, I have a couple of illustrations. What if you told the IRS, “I filed my taxes last year, and they’re pretty much the same this year. Why do it again?” Or even worse, what if you told your spouse, “I gave you an anniversary card last year, and I still love you. Why do I need to give you another one this year?” The moral of the story - some things are so important that they need a formal expression each year.
Just as your tax return changes every year, even if only slightly, and just as your love for your spouse changes and deepens over time, so too does your relationship with God and the Church. A lot can change in a year. You may feel more drawn to prayer this year, you may have more or less time for ministries, or more or less income to contribute. The Annual Stewardship Renewal helps each of us to strengthen our faith by discerning how we are currently using our time, talent, and treasure in the service of God and each other.
So, over these next couple of weeks, as you receive your new Stewardship materials in the mail, I urge you to look over the information and pray about how God is calling you, right now, this year, to use your time, talent and treasure to tangibly live out your faith.
-Rev. Steven Arisman