On this Sunday, as Jesus declares—“You cannot serve two masters,” I wish to speak to you about STEWARDSHIP—A DISCIPLE’S RESPONSE—AT SAINT RITA.
At the same time, this is our St. Rita “Together in Mission” commitment Sunday. When we at St. Rita take part in “Together in Mission,” it is another manifestation of our desire to be good stewards. We are called, in a spirit of generosity and stewardship, to share our resources with our brothers and sisters here and in the local church, meaning, the Catholic Church within the San Gabriel Valley, and the Catholic Church from Lancaster to the Pacific Ocean and from Santa Maria to the Orange County border—287 parishes in all.
However, this Sunday, I wish to address the bigger picture of DISCIPLESHIP and STEWARDSHIP. Here are some points that I want to share with you:
- The Master’s call to each and every one of us is personal and it is rendered unique by the gifts and talents God has given us;
- To respond to the call of Jesus, the Master and Good Shepherd, is to commit oneself to becoming one of his followers—a disciple.
- To be a true and actively committed disciple is to be a good and faithful steward of the Church on earth.
- Our Parish of St. Rita, is “ground zero” of our discipleship, and it deserves our first and best attention as co-stewards in the Vineyard of the Lord.
In the weeks and months ahead we will develop this great Christian theme of STEWARDSHIP as we live it out here in our parish, our local Church, and the Church Universal. Why? Because here at St. Rita we find ourselves at a “crossroads” and we need to decide which way we are going to move our turn signal indicator. The turn we choose will be nothing less than the choice between being a serving disciple or choosing to just serve ourselves; the choice between committing to LIFE in Christ, the Master, or lifeless complacency; the choice between a parish with a solid footing for the future or a parish settling for self-absorption; the choice between a parish that attracts a future pastor who is alive and dynamic or is assigned a lackluster priest or perhaps no resident priest at all. Sound serious? It is.
The sign of a healthy and vibrant parish is one in which pastor and people understand STEWARDSHIP and embrace it—a parish in which ministries are not just “basic cable,” but rather a parish in which ministries, by way of His true disciples, are channeled to all who have been identified as “in need of Christ healing presence.”
One thing I know for sure, a parish where stewardship is rekindled, and a parish where the membership increases because the faith community is so welcoming and filled with vitality, is a parish where this priest-pastor is excited to serve and stay.