Stewardship Commitment – All of us are with Christ in His Mission to serve and to give
By Father Pete Iorio
Have you ever been outside the “in group“? What’s the reason you are out? You’re not cool enough, whatever the definition of “cool” is. You don’t have the right education, you were not born in this country or you speak with an accent or you do not have the correct legal status, or sports ability or wealth or social status or religious upbringing or you weren’t in the right place at the right time so you missed out on the inside story? Whatever it may be, there is always that human tendency to exclude. There is also the human tendency to be jealous of other people. This is what’s going on in the scripture this weekend. In the first reading Eldad and Medad were not present when the spirit fell upon the big group of prophets. Yet the spirit did fall upon them. God does not show partiality and works beyond the bounds of human categories.
Moses does not give into the “in group” and the “out group thinking” of Joshua who told him to have them stop. He simply states, “would that the Lord bestow the his spirit on them all.” The disciples too in the Gospel complain to Jesus. There are some who are driving out demons in your name, but they’re not one us, the 12. And Jesus gives that beautiful lesson: “whoever is not against us is for us.”
Seven years ago, I could have had a jealousy attitude when a (Glenmary) priest arrived and took some of our talented and money giving parishioners away to start a new Catholic mission in Erwin 15 miles from here. I believe in the Law of the Gift. When you give away what you love, God will increase you and not decrease your being. September 29th is a great day because on the feast of the Archangels, Bishop Stika officially raised the community from the status of mission of St. Mary’s to the status of being its own parish. We did lose parishioners.
But the law of the gift is in full force. Whatever we love most and are willing to give away, God will multiply it and make it bigger and better. The Catholic Church is growing in Northeast Tennessee. Praise the Lord!
Everyone here today no matter what your age or religious knowledge or practice of the faith or spiritual maturity, you are with us. We are bringing our focus on stewardship to fulfilment. I am asking you in a special way to be included in our census. We always have new people and they bring new ideas and practices. One of them is this update form which helps us to include you and to serve you better. It came from a parish in Dallas, Texas. You received papers, an envelope and a pencil. There are two forms. One is for time and talent and the other is for treasure. I have learned through experience that mailing things out in the post does not yield great results with all of you parishioners. In fact, we tend to lose money by doing that. I am asking you who are present today to fill out the forms along with me. You are always free to not respond.
Two weeks ago, we had a ministries fair which invited you to know the good things that are going on here and to invited you to join. Thanks to those who did. For those who did not, maybe you prayed and discerned that now you would like to participate. You can indicate that on the form.
You can turn in the forms with the collection, give them to ushers on the way out or you may take the forms home with you and fill them out later and return them to us. But don’t forget.
I am so grateful to the generosity here at St. Mary’s. Let’s continue to put our time, talent and treasure at the service of Our Lord by working together in mission.