March 24, 2019 "Fully Alive as Missionary Disciples"

Third Sunday of Lent
Ex 3:1-8A, 13-15/1 Cor  10:1-6, 10-12 / Lk 13:1-9

A seemingly minor player in today's gospel is the fig tree that does not bear fruit.  The owner of the orchard wants to cut it down because it is exhausting the soil.  The gardener, however, asks for the opportunity to give the tree special attention, to cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it.  This, brothers and sisters, is stewardship.  We are surrounded by fruitless fig trees...some of us may even BE the fig tree!  Discipleship does not mean we stand and stare and complain about the tree's lack of fruit.  It doesn't mean grumbling about the way it is exhausting the soil.  Discipleship means helping that fig tree be FULLY ALIVE by caring for it.  Like the gardener, we have to get our hands dirty as we nurture the tree and help it bear fruit.  This means praying for and with one another, going to Mass together, and discovering the unique "fruits" God has placed within each of us.  Just as the fig tree cannot fertilize itself, neither can we alone sustain ourselves.  Stewardship means supporting one another.

 

24 de Marzo 2019 “Plenamente Vivos Como Discípulos Misioneros"

Tercer Domingo de Cuaresma

Un personaje al parecer pequeño o de poca importancia en el Evangelio de hoy, es el árbol de higos que no da fruto.  El dueño de la huerta quiere cortarlo porque esta gastando la tierra buena.  El jardinero, al contrario, le pide la oportunidad de darle atención especial a ese árbol y cultivar la tierra alrededor de este y fertilizarla.  Esto, hermanos y hermanas, es el Stewardship.  Estamos rodeados de muchos arboles de trigo que no dan frutos; algunos de nosotros puede que seamos esos arboles.  El discipulado no quiere decir que nos estemos parados y veamos a los demas con envidia y nos quejemos de aquel árbol que no puede dar fruto.  No quiere decir que nos quejemos de que tan duro es trabajar la tierra.  El disicpulado significa ayudar a aquel árbol y nutrirlo para que pueda dar fruto.  Esto significa orar los unos por los otros, ir a Misa juntos, y descubrir aquellos frutos únicos que Dios ha puesto en cada uno de nosotros.  Asi como ese árbol de higos que no se puede fertilizar a si mismo, tampoco nosotros podemos solos sostenernos.  El Stewardship significa sostenerse los unos a los otros.  

March 31, 2019 "Fully Alive as Missionary Disciples"

Fourth Sunday of Lent
Jos 5:9A, 10-12/2 Cor 5:17-21 / Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

Today we read the parable of the prodigal son -- a familiar story to most of us.  We have learned to study the three main characters in the story: the unconditionally forgiving father, the righteous older son, and the sinful younger son.  Chances are, each time we read this story, we find that we relate to a different character.  But let's consider this story from a stewardship perspective.  The younger son took all the gifts he was given and spent them selfishly and sinfully.  He thought he was living life to the fullest, but quickly found that to be untrue.  The older son protected the gifts he received out of obedient devotion to his father but, in the end, he seems to resent doing so.  Only the father in this story gives recklessly.  He gives abundantly of himself, knowing how each son will react to the gifts, and he forgives in incredible proportions when the boys realize their mistakes.  Only the father in this parable is FULLY ALIVE.  It is he who disciples his sons and it is he whom we should emulate each day of our lives.  Being FULLY ALIVE means receiving the gifts we've been given and sharing them in incredible proportions!!

31 de Marzo 2019 “Plenamente Vivos como Discipulos Misioneros”

Cuarto Domingo de Cuaresma

 Hoy leemos la parábola del hijo pródigo, una historia conocida por la mayoría de nosotros.  Hemos aprendido a analizar a los tres personajes principales de la historia; al padre que perdona incondicionalmente, al hijo mayor que es un hombre justo y al hijo más joven que es un pecador.  Cada vez que leemos esta historia, hay la oportunidad que nos identifiquemos con algún personaje diferente.  Pero, consideren esta historia desde el punto de vista del Stewardship; el hijo más joven tomó todo lo que se le había dado y lo gastó egoísta y pecadoramente.  Él pensaba que vivía la vida al máximo pero pronto se dio cuenta de que no era así.  El hijo mayor protegió los regalos que recibió con devota obediencia hacia su padre, pero al final, parece como si se hubiera arrepentido de haberlo hecho.  Solo el padre en esta historia da sin escatimar.  El da de sí mismo en abundancia, sabiendo como reaccionaria cada uno de sus hijos y el perdona de una forma increíble cuando los hijos se dan cuenta de sus errores.  Solo el padre en esta parábola está PLENAMENTE VIVO.  Es él quien disciplina a sus hijos y el que debe de emular cada día de nuestras vidas.  Estar PLENAMENE VIVO significa recibir los regalos que se nos ha dado y compartirlos de una forma increíble.  

April 7, 2019 "Fully Alive as Missionary Disciples"

Fifth Sunday of Lent
Is 43:16-21 / Phil 3:8-14 / Jn 8:1-11

The idea of being FULLY ALIVE seems to indicate a need for intentional living on our part, and that, indeed, would be true; however, it would not be enough.  Even with 100% of our own good intentions, we would still require a second ingredient: the grace of God.  We become FULLY alive because we are filled with God's grace.  You only need to look at today's readings to have proof.   The prophet Isaiah refers to the LORD as the one who rescued the Jewish people from slavery; He opened a way in the sea and a path in the waters.  In other words, He made it possible for them to survive.  But to survive is not the same as living -- they are ALIVE because God was with them and God was within them.  They were His people, and they were filled with His grace.  Then, in John's gospel, we have the woman who was to be put to death for her sin of adultery.  When Jesus pointed out that each of the men gathered there was also a sinner, they departed; they let her live.  Jesus recognized that she needed more.  He poured out His grace and forgave her, allowing her to become FULLY alive in His love.  Carry this message with you as you make your way through this week.  As stewards of God's gifts, we should live and give purposefully, but we must remember that it is only through God's grace that we can become FULLY ALIVE. 

 

April 14, 2019 "Fully Alive as Missionary Disciples"

Palm Sunday
Is 50:4-7 / Phil 2:6-11 / Lk 22:14-23:56

On this Palm Sunday, you may find it easy feel a bit of sadness or anger or despair as you read the passion according to Luke.  It is, after all, a grim story.  For the Jewish people, it was even a story of disappointment, as they really hoped that this Jesus would be "the one." Thankfully, as Christian disciples, we know that the story does not end there -- that this is a story of resurrection and hope!  Take a moment to reflect on today's reading from Philippians, where Jesus is shown in great glory!  "He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave....he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death....God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name....Jesus Christ is Lord."  Jesus shows us that to be FULLY ALIVE means to surrender yourself completely to God's will!  It may not be pretty.  It may not please others.  It may not be what you had in mind.  As disciples, we are called to put our selfish desires aside and place ourselves in the Potter's hands, allowing Him to mold us as He wills.  As we enter into Holy Week, let us remember that we are called to holiness, which can only be achieved through surrender. 

April 21, 2019 "Fully Alive as Missionary Disciples"

Easter Sunday - the Resurrection of the Lord
Acts 10:34A, 37-43 / Col 3:1-4 / Jn 20:1-9

He is Risen! Alleluia! Today is a perfect day to stop and quietly reflect on this year's Stewardship poster.  You can likely find one posted in your church, or perhaps you have the image at home.  In it we have the Easter sunrise, and we see Peter and John as they are running to tell the other disciples that Jesus is no longer in the tomb.  It is the perfect illustration for today's Gospel.  Peter's face shows awe and wonder, while John's expression is one of love and concern.  In both of their faces, we can see Jn 20:9, "For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead."  Where do you place yourself in this image?  Perhaps you are standing along the side of the road, watching them run past you.  Maybe you are running right next to them.  Maybe you are at home, just waking up to hear the news.  What emotions are shown on your  face as you come to realize that Jesus is ALIVE?!  How will you go about your day, the coming week, or the rest of your life knowing that because of Jesus' resurrection, you are also FULLY ALIVE?

April 28, 2019 "Fully Alive as Missionary Disciples"

Divine Mercy Sunday
Acts 5:12-16/Rev 1:9-11A, 12-13, 17-19 / Jn 20: 19-31

We are an Easter People! We live in the age of the Resurrected Christ and we are baptized into a faith that calls us into stewardship and evangelization.  In today's reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we see the earliest "Easter People" in action.  They continued to spread the good news.  They cared for one another;  they cured the sick;  they cast out unclean spirits.  In short, they continued the work begun by Jesus.   You and I are called into the same mission, but we would be wise to remember another story...the story of the boy with the evil spirit in Mk 9: 14-29.  In this passage, which actually took place before the resurrection, the disciples were unable to cast out the boy's demons, and they had to call on the help of Jesus.  When the disciples asked why they were unsuccessful, Jesus explained that this kind of demon can only come out by prayer.  As missionary disciples, we MUST remember that we do not act of our own accord; we act in accordance with the will of God.  We cooperate with His plans and we must include prayer and fasting as we do so.  If we are to continue living as an Easter People, then we must always work in conjunction with the one who commissioned us to do so!