Welcome to Notre Dame Church
A Word from Father Ed…
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
As I mention in the introduction to the ministry opportunity insert in today’s bulletin, quoting the bishops themselves, 25 years ago our bishops instructed that stewardship be defined as the spirituality of our dioceses and parishes. 25 years on I am pleased to pick-up that mandate and (re)introduce stewardship to Notre Dame Parish.
The first question one might ask is: what is a spirituality? In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul taught that we are “to present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual worship” (12:1). There you have the basic elements of a spirituality, namely, it involves our bodies and not just our feelings or thoughts; it involves sacrifice; and the sacrifices we make are our spiritual worship.
The next questions one might ask are: isn’t stewardship a Protestant spirituality? What do Catholics have to do with stewardship? Well, as a matter of fact stewardship is a biblical spirituality, therefore it is a Catholic spirituality, and therefore it was originally and remains our church’s universal and unifying spirituality. St. Paul teaches us that everyone should “think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God’s mysteries,...that [we] be found trustworthy” (I Cor. 4:1-2). That Protestants have discovered stewardship doesn’t mean that it isn’t Catholic. It means that they finally discovered what we had all along and lost, for whatever reasons, over the years.
In the bible there are seven characteristics of stewardship by which you can see it is especially Catholic. I like to call these characteristics the seven laurels of stewardship (the laurel leaf, when woven into a crown, being the symbol of victory). They are:
First, our Savior, Jesus Christ, was a steward—a trustworthy steward of the mysteries of God. He literally gave everything back to his Father, including his body, blood, soul, divinity, and humanity. Second, Mary Jesus’ mother and our mother and patroness, was a steward. She modeled stewardship in every fiber of her being, as evidenced in three of her great teachings, namely, “Let it be done to me as according to your word” (Lk. 1:38); when she “treasured...and pondered in her heart” all that had to do with Jesus; and when she instructed the waiters at the Cana wedding, “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn. 2:5).
Third, our church, as a servant of Christ and steward of the mysteries of God, is itself a steward. Indeed, it is the very mission of the church to safeguard our pathway home, our pathway back to God. Fourth, stewardship is biblical. From the days of Abraham and Moses through Jesus and to the church, the bible teaches us that everything whatsoever we have from God who commanded his people to thank him for his gifts by tithing. His people expressed their thanksgiving as well as their love for and trust in him by returning their first fruits to him.
Fifth, stewardship is sacramental—it is rooted in baptism and nurtured by the sacraments of confirmation, Eucharist, anointing of the sick and penance. Indeed, too, marriage and priesthood are in and of themselves the living of the spirituality of stewardship.
Sixth, stewardship is a spirituality that asks the same of all equally. What it asks of one it asks of all and vice versa. It requires no special gifts other than trust in God’s mercy and a generous heart.
Finally, stewardship is freedom. It sets us free from the stress of getting, acquiring, and owning and teaches us the paradox of Jesus’ own teaching that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
Don't forget to pick up some grocery gift cards for the leading grocery stores. They make great gifts too. You can purchase yours after all the Masses.
*The current bulletin can be found under the "Weekly Bulletins" menu link above, plus notice all our advertisers on the back that help support the bulletin.
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