Sunday, October 7, 2018
27th Sunday in Ordinary Time-B
Respect Life Sunday
Weekend Two: Stewardship Renewal Ministry Fair
October 4th was the feast day of one of everybody’s favorite saints, Francis of Assisi.
Saint Francis loved life and he reverenced all of God’s creation. Francis would genuflect before an expectant mother. He would walk barefoot on the spring soil lest he crush the new life of nature. And Francis had a special love for animals.
Saint Francis’ love for animals reminds me of today’s First Reading, from the very first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis. There is Adam, the first man. God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” So God creates the animals and Adam gives each one of them a name.
But God knows that none of the animals, as nice as they were, could be a suitable partner for Adam. So God, the author of life, puts Adam to sleep, takes out one of his ribs, and creates the first woman, Eve. And God presents them to each other in marriage.
Notice that from the very beginning – in the first book of the Bible, Genesis chapter 2 – marriage between a man and a woman was God’s idea and God’s gift to the human race.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus quotes from this same passage from Genesis: “God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” [Mark, 10: 6-8 and Genesis 2: 24].
Jesus raises God’s original gift of marriage to a sacrament. That is how sacred the calling of marriage is. A couple united in faithful love, and in cooperation with God, the author of life, may even find their love has become flesh in the conception of their child.
At the end of today’s Gospel, Jesus embraces the children and blesses them, saying: “Let the children come to Me. Do not prevent them. For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” [Mark 10: 14].
These readings from the Scriptures are perfect for this first Sunday of October, known as Respect Life Sunday.
Today, and every day of the year, we proclaim the value of every human life from the moment life begins at conception until the moment of natural death, and all the time in between.
Stewardship is the way that we cherish and reverence God’s gift of human life.
As a steward – a manager, a caretaker – of God’s bountiful blessings, I acknowledge that everything that I have is a gift from God: my very 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 and, because I am grateful, to share a portion of them generously with others, 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: being ready to say “yes” to His call to follow Him and live the Christian life.
I hope that you have received your stewardship packet in the mail this week. It contains: (1) a letter from me; (2) an explanation of our annual stewardship renewal in Saint Joseph and Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parishes; (3) a “Ministry Catalog” which describes each of the current ministries in our two parishes as well as a contact person; all ministries are available for members of both of our parishes to participate in; (4) and a “2018 Commitment Card” specially marked for each parish that enables each household to check off ministry involvements that they would like to renew for another year or that they would like to join for one year.
If your stewardship packet did not arrive, please let us know in the parish offices because we want every household to have one. There are also some available at the doorways of the church.
At the Masses last weekend, 29-30 September, we heard Linda Howell’s beautiful personal witness about how she is trying to live the stewardship way of life.
After the Masses this weekend you are invited and encouraged to come to our Ministry Fair in Saint Joseph Social Hall. Our ministry leaders will be there to answer questions you might have after looking through your Ministry Catalog. There will be no sign-ups at the Ministry Fair, no pressure to join. Just a chance to find out more about ministries here in our parishes.
There will also be food and fellowship for us all.
Next weekend, 13-14 October, is our annual Stewardship Commitment Sunday. You are asked to bring your completed commitment cards to Mass with your one-year commitments of time, talent and treasure. And we will place them in the Offertory basket together.
We have a lot to pray about and to do in our world today. And we ask the intercession of Mary Immaculate, the patroness of our United States, and of good old Saint Francis of Assisi, in our efforts to promote reverence and respect for all human life. And to be good and faithful disciples of Jesus, and grateful and generous stewards of His bountiful blessings.