Generous Stewardship- Homily-2020

GENEROUS STEWARDSHIP Homily 2020                                               Msgr. Larry Droll, pastor

 

All Saints Day!  Today we praise God for the grace he has given to all the saints, all the holy ones!  We thank God for all the well-known saint/heroes, who are canonized—that is, their names are on the Church’s official roll of the saints.  We also thank God for the billions of saints who names are not on any official roll, all who dedicated their lives and resources to God.  These include our ancestors, our family members, and friends.

We are inspired by the saints who took all the gifts and graces God gave them and who managed these gifts so as to love God with heart, soul and mind and to love their neighbor, so as to serve their family and those in need.  We would say that these inspirational saints were generous stewards of the grace of God and now they are receiving their eternal reward in heaven.

I use the word “stewards” of God’s graces on purpose!  The saints give us a good example of how to be generous stewards of all God has given us in our lives.  God created us.  He surrounded us with family and friends.  He gives us food and shelter and clothing.  God guides us in our lives and helps us in our difficulties. He forgives our sins when we stray away.  He gives us a place in His Church family.  He fills us with His glory when at last we come home into His Kingdom.

Out of thanksgiving, we want to share some of our resources with God and a good way to do this is to support the work of God’s Church.

In biblical times, those who were involved in agriculture would bring to the temple a portion of the first fruits of the harvest as an offering to God and for the support of the temple.  They called it a “tithe” meaning “one-tenth.”  Others in the community shared a portion of their income, too, from whatever occupation or resources they had.

This act of worship continues today in our offertory gifts in Mass or however we give to God’s work in the Church—these days often donating on-line, by credit card or bank drafts.  As it says in Psalm 50, “Pay your sacrificeof thanksgiving to God.”

“Stewardship” means “management.” We are stewards in our households when we plan our budget.  Everyone instinctively makes some sort of plan for each day’s activities. With our finances, too, we make plans.  If we have a plan in mind, we have more confidence that we can withstand the unexpected events that come up; we can set aside some savings; we can leave an inheritance to our children.

If we put God and the things of God first in our lives, then how we manage our money becomes part of that priority.  I hope you will set aside a first portion, a percentage, from your income and resources, and share that with God through your contribution to the parish.  The parish will use these resources to serve our people in worship, faith formation and outreach to the poor.

Please take some time this week to fill out the Stewardship Commitment Card I sent you in the mail.  Pray about and decide what your 2021 commitment will be—each week, or each month, or annually—whatever is most convenient for you.

You could take note of what you are donating now and increase it a bit if possible, or decrease it if necessary.  What is truly important is that you plan your giving and try to stick to your plan.  This is why we have this Stewardship Commitment Card!

I ask that you bring the Stewardship Commitment card to Mass next weekend and drop it in the offertory collection.  Or you can mail it or bring it to the Parish Office.  It is a sign of your sharing of your gifts with God and the Church.  Thank you for doing this!

Two brief footnotes:

1) If you want to check on your current record of giving to the parish, you can do so.  Our new parish data system allows you to check on your own record of giving—and only on your own record!  The system is called “REALM,” as in a kingdom.  R-E-A-L-M.  To get to your record, go to www.onRealm.org.  Enter your e-mail address, set up a password, sign in and go the Community list.  Click on the “giving” tab and that should give you your record.  If it does not do so, please call the Parish Office.
2) I want to assure you that St. Ann’s parish will use your gifts frugally, to manage the services we offer in our parish’s mission.  As the coronavirus situation has deepened, we have cut back on parish staff. Obviously, with only half the usual attendance at Sunday Masses, we are missing much of the cash portion of the offertory collection.  So we are managing by cutting back on staff and various supplies.  On the other hand, we will also need to expand a bit to handle the new Youth Activity Center, which is due to open this month of November.  So we are practicing our stewardship of resources, our management of what is provided, very carefully.

Finally, in this Thanksgiving month, let me say again, toall of you saints/holy ones:  THANK YOU for your gifts to St. Ann’s Parish in so many ways—by your prayers, by your participation in person or on-line, and by your generous stewardship.