Weekend Two: Homily Before Lay Witness Talk
Isaiah 5; 1-7
Philippians 4: 6-9
At the end of today’s Gospel parable, Jesus quotes a line from Psalm 118: 22. He says: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes.”
Jesus is teaching us that He is like the stone that the builders rejected – who has become the cornerstone of the Church. And Jesus has chosen us to be members of His Church as His disciples.
Rejection: we all know what it feels like “not to be chosen” or to be “passed over” or “ignored.”
We have an expression in English that involves the experience of rejection: to “turn someone down.” Do you know where it comes from?
There is a story from the colonial days in America. Whether it is fact or fiction, I don’t know. But if it isn’t true, it ought to be.
Here is the story: when a young man was courting a young lady and wanted to ask her to marry him, he would take a “courting mirror” in his hand.
He would look into the mirror, as though to put his face there permanently. And then he would lay the mirror, face-side up, on a table in front of his beloved.
If she picked up the mirror as though to look at his face and then to put her face there too, the answer that she gave him was, “Yes, I will marry you,” without even saying a word.
But if she took the mirror and simply turned it over with his face to the table, she had symbolically “turned him down.”
Jesus asks us to see His face mirrored in the unborn, the immigrant, the hungry and poor, the elderly, the lonely – in the faces of all of His beloved – and not “to turn them down.” For Jesus never “turns us down.”
Jesus is teaching us that He is the stone that the builders rejected – that the builders “turned down – who has become the cornerstone of the Church. Jesus has chosen us to be members of His Church. And, as His disciples, stewardship is our grateful response to Him.
All that I have is a gift from God: my life itself, my time, my talents and my treasure. God wants me to receive these gifts from Him gratefully, to develop them with an increase, to share them generously, so that each person gives as they have been blessed and each person receives as they need.
Stewardship as a way of life is all about becoming even better disciples of Jesus each day – and, as our response to His call, to see God’s blessings all around us and not to “turn down” opportunities to share them.
I hope that you have received your stewardship packet in the mail by now. If you have not received yours, please let us know in the parish offices. We want every household to have one so that you can read its contents and be ready to make your stewardship commitments next Sunday.
To assist you in your decisions, there is a Ministries Fair in the Saint Joseph Social Hall right after Mass today. Many of our ministry leaders will be there to answer questions you might have after looking through our Ministry Catalog.
There will be no sign-ups at the Ministries Fair, no pressure to join. Just a chance to find out more about ministries here in our parishes. Anyone in Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes can sign up for any ministry in this catalog, no matter which parish they belong to.
There will also be free food and fine fellowship for us all at our Ministries Fair. So please stop by after Mass.
And let us keep each other in prayerful support this week as we make our stewardship decisions and bring our completed commitment cards with us to Mass next weekend.
And right now I would like to present to you our Director of Youth Ministry for our Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes, John Kowalski, who will speak to us about how he is embracing stewardship more fully in his life.