"...as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality." – 2 Corinthians 8:14
One of the tenants of living a grateful and generous lifestyle is giving without expecting anything in return. It is important that we not only grow, nurture and share our gifts; but that we also teach our children and encourage others to do the same. This is the communal aspect of our Catholic faith. We are the "Body of Christ". We are called to be dependent on each other and not live in isolation.
"He asked them, 'Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?" – Mark 4:40
Do you really trust God? Is God your first choice or last resort? Is your faith something you just do on Sunday or do you live the Gospel message every day of the week? Many of us know about God. How many of us have a personal relationship with Him? Start now, open your heart to receive our Lord. Talk and listen throughout the day, in all circumstances.
"For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil" – 2 Corinthians 5:10
We are all accountable for all of the gifts God has given us — our time, our talent and our treasure; everything we have and everything we are. Each of us is accountable not only for our own life but for the lives of others as well. One day God will ask each of us what did we do with the gifts we were given. How will you respond?
"Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them and they all drank from it." – Mark 14:23
Jesus, the perfect steward, gave thanks, just before He gave Himself up for us, completely for our salvation. He offers us the same chance to drink from His cup. In the bread and wine, we meet Christ personally. If we follow Him, drinking from His cup means our own self-sacrifice, using all of our gifts for the benefit of others and to do His work on earth.
"The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ..." Romans 8:16-17
If we are heirs to the kingdom of God, shouldn't we work to build up His Kingdom? Shouldn't we be good stewards of our inheritance, using our time in prayer, our talent in charitable works and our treasure to care for the Church that God has left to us? Our church is a reassure heirloom from God. Do we treat it that way?
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.” 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6
All of us are blessed, regardless of our own individual circumstances. God has given each of us many gifts. How we use those gifts is our gift back to God. For God’s plan to work, each must do what we are called to do. Guess what? We are not all called to do the same thing! For God’s plan to work you have to do what God is calling you to do and I have to do what God is calling me to do.
"Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God." 1 John 4:15
How strong is your faith? When you have an opportunity to either defend or clarify a question about our Catholic faith, do you do it? Or, do you remain silent so that others don't think you are weird? Pray for the courage to be strong in all circumstances and to joyfully share your witness with others.
"The is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:12-13
Do you love Jesus? Do you consider Him your friend? Jesus says that if we love Him we would be willing to offer whatever we have to Him, not because we want praise and glory, but simply because we love Him. Does your giving seem mechanical out of obligation or do you share freely out of love?
"Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth." 1 John 3:18
Regarding our Catholic faith, do you "walk the talk?" Do your actions reflect what it means to be a good disciple? Are you an active participant at Sunday Mass? Are you joyful when participating in parish ministry? Do you give gratefully and generously with your financial support to your parish and other Church needs? If no, it's not too late to start!
"I am the good shepherd...and I lay down my life for the sheep and they will heed my voice." – John 10:14-16
When you pray, do you only ask Jesus for the things that you want? Do you ever ask Him what He wants from you? How do you listen for His response? Many times Jesus responds in "quiet whispers" that are not so obvious. So take dime every day, in silence, to actively listen for His voice.
“Jesus himself stood among them and said to then, ‘peace be with you.’ But they were startled and frightened…” Luke 24:36-37
Throughout the day we have many opportunities to “see the face of Jesus” in others and to “be the face of Jesus” to others. Do we take that opportunity to provide “peace” to those we encounter or are we afraid of what others will think of us and do nothing? Pray for the strength and courage to live a “God-centered” life and not a “self-centered” life.
"The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own..." Acts 4:32
All that we are and all that we have is a gift from God! Think of your family, your friends, your life, your talents and your money—these are all gifts from God! We aren't really owners of anything, we are merely "stewards" of the gifts God has blessed us with. We are called to be grateful and generous with all or our gifts for the benefit of others.
“Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man whom you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” Mark 15:12-13
Jesus told us “whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.” Every day we are presented opportunities to help someone. Every day we have the opportunity to see the face of Jesus in others and be the face of Jesus to others. Every day we pass by someone in need. Pray for the strength and courage to be the answer to someone’s prayer.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son..” – John 3:16
Of all the wonderful gifts that God has given to us, thegift of His own Son is truly the greatest. How can weever thank God for a gift like that? God does not ask usto sacrifice our own precious firstborn, but He does askthat we are grateful and generous with our God-givengifts. That we nurture and develop our gifts, and ingratitude, generously give back with increase our time inprayer, our talent in charitable works and our treasure tosupport the mission and ministry of our parish andgreater Church.