Monday, August 5, 2019

August 11, 2019 - Stewardship

August 11, 2019  -  Good Stewards 

Reading I:  
Wisdom 18:6-9

Psalm:  33

Reading II:  Hebrews
11:1-2, 8-19

Gospel:  Luke

In today’s Gospel, Luke presents Jesus teaching his disciples about being good stewards. In the parable, the master returns from a wedding and is happy to find that his servants have been good stewards. They have taken care of his properties in the way he wished.  In fact, he is so delighted with their stewardship that he prepares a banquet for them and serves them himself.

Jesus reminds his listeners that they do not know when the second coming of the Master (Jesus) will be. He urges them to be prepared for that coming by being good stewards of all the gifts he has given them.

The thought of stewardship always reminds me of  St. Katharine Drexel and her family.  Katharine's father, Francis Anthony Drexel, was a devout Catholic who became a rich Philadelphia banker.  He considered himself as a steward of the wealth he had accumulated. He believed he was to use it for his family and those in need.  Often missionaries to the Indians would come to ask assistance for the needs of the people on their missions.

Mr. Drexel’s wife, Emma Bouvier Drexel, was also very devout and had the same belief that she was to use money to help those in need. At a time when the slaves had recently been freed, it was difficult for them to find jobs because of lack of education and opportunities.

Each week, Emma with the assistance of the children: Elizabeth, Katharine and Louise, welcomed needy people at their door. They distributed food, clothing, rent money, etc. to those in need.

Both parents wanted their children to be sensitive to the needs of the poor. Mr. Drexel took the young women to see the Indian missions and meet the people in person.  Mrs. Drexel had the children converse with those coming to the door so that they would recognize them as human beings like themselves who had just come on hard times.  The result was that as adult women they each continued to reach out to people in need.

In fact when St. Katharine took the three vows of a religious: poverty, chastity and obedience, she added a fourth personal vow to be the “Mother and Servant of the Indian and Colored Peoples.” She also founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament to help her minister primarily, but not exclusively, among the Indian and Black peoples. The ultimate goal was that all be united as children of one heavenly Father.

Most of us are not wealthy. However, we all have something to contribute to the good of others.  Some have time to visit the elderly, the lonely, the sick and/or those in prison. Others have talents which can help others. I have heard of people giving haircuts to homeless people. We hear of people fixing buildings, etc. on the missions and in low-income areas. We have people cooking meals for those in need. Finally, there are some who do have the money to contribute to many good causes.

Whether our treasure is in time, or talent, or money, when we share with our brothers and sisters, we are good stewards of the gifts that our Father has entrusted to us for the good of all. 

 Reflection Question:  Which of the Lord’s gifts might I use to help a brother or sister this week?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Good Stewards

En el Evangelio de hoy, Lucas presenta a Jesús enseñando a sus discípulos acerca de ser buenos mayordomos. En la parábola, el maestro regresa de una boda y está feliz de descubrir que sus sirvientes han sido buenos mayordomos. Se han ocupado de sus propiedades de la manera que él deseaba. De hecho, él está tan encantado con su mayordomía que prepara un banquete para ellos y los sirve él mismo.

Jesús les recuerda a sus oyentes que no saben cuándo será la segunda venida del Maestro (Jesús). Los insta a estar preparados para esa venida siendo buenos administradores de todos los regalos que les ha dado.

La idea de la mayordomía siempre me recuerda a Santa Katharine Drexel y su familia. El padre de Katharine, Francis Anthony Drexel, era un católico devoto que se convirtió en un rico banquero de Filadelfia. Se consideraba un administrador de la riqueza que había acumulado. Él creía que debía usarlo para su familia y los necesitados. A menudo, los misioneros de los indios venían a pedir ayuda para las necesidades de las personas en sus misiones.

La esposa del Sr. Drexel, Emma Bouvier Drexel, también era muy devota y tenía la misma creencia de que debía usar el dinero para ayudar a los necesitados. En un momento en que los esclavos habían sido liberados recientemente, les resultaba difícil encontrar trabajo debido a la falta de educación y oportunidades.

Cada semana, Emma, ​​con la ayuda de los niños: Elizabeth, Katharine y Louise, dieron la bienvenida a las personas necesitadas en su puerta. Distribuyeron comida, ropa, renta, etc. a los necesitados.

Ambos padres querían que sus hijos fueran sensibles a las necesidades de los pobres. El Sr. Drexel llevó a las jóvenes a ver las misiones indias y conocer a las personas en persona. La Sra. Drexel hizo que los niños conversaran con los que venían a la puerta para que los reconocieran como seres humanos como ellos que acababan de pasar por momentos difíciles. El resultado fue que, como mujeres adultas, cada una de ellas continuó llegando a las personas necesitadas.

De hecho, cuando Santa Catalina tomó los tres votos de un religioso: pobreza, castidad y obediencia, agregó un cuarto voto personal para ser la “Madre y Sierva de los Pueblos Indios y de Color”. También fundó las Hermanas del Santísimo Sacramento para ayudarla a ministrar principalmente, pero no exclusivamente, entre los pueblos indios y negros. El objetivo final era que todos se unieran como hijos de un Padre celestial.

La mayoría de nosotros no somos ricos. Sin embargo, todos tenemos algo que contribuir al bien de los demás. Algunos tienen tiempo para visitar a los ancianos, los solitarios, los enfermos y / o los encarcelados. Otros tienen talentos que pueden ayudar a otros. He oído hablar de personas que cortan el cabello a personas sin hogar. Oímos de personas arreglando edificios, etc. en las misiones y en áreas de bajos ingresos. Tenemos personas preparando comidas para los necesitados. Finalmente, hay algunos que tienen el dinero para contribuir a muchas buenas causas.

Ya sea que nuestro tesoro sea a tiempo, o talento o dinero, cuando compartimos con nuestros hermanos y hermanas, somos buenos administradores de los dones que nuestro Padre nos ha confiado para el bien de todos.

 Pregunta de Reflexíon:  ¿Cuál de los dones del Señor podría usar para ayudar a un hermano o hermana esta semana?

Stephanie Morris, Ph. D, Historian, Certified Archivist, emerita
What are the gifts the Lord has given me?  I have a voice – I can call a shut-in or relative with whom I have not spoken in a long time. Can you knit? This summer’s heat does not cry out for a scarf or hat or lap robe (the air conditioning might warrant the last). But we could make these small items in readiness for clothing drives that happen in the fall and winter. Are you going food shopping this week? Could you purchase an extra box of cereal for a food drive? We don’t have to feed thousands as Our Lord did on a mountainside; we can help one person or one family with a small gift of food as part of a food drive.

Pat Chiaffa, ASBS
Deborah Rexrode, an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, VA, wrote the following statement regarding the challenges of stewardship as it applies to the church, “Stewardship should be a part of everything we do throughout all the seasons of our ministries… It is a spiritual discipline and a way of living that helps us to manage what God has entrusted to us and to teach others the true joy of giving as a response to God’s generosity. We are called to be good stewards of all that we have: stewards of time, stewards of gifts, stewards of resources, stewards of relationships, stewards of ministry, stewards of the knowledge of God, stewards of the people in our community of faith, stewards of the mysteries of God.”
Deborah developed her thoughts in alignment with the seasons of the year, which led me to think about stewardship in light of the seasons of life. By changing the phrase ‘seasons of our ministries,’ to the ‘seasons of our life,’ we have a doable guide for following Jesus’ call to Stewardship. 
I must confess that I am still growing in my sense of stewardship. I struggle with being generous with my treasure, time and talents.  When I view Stewardship as a big-ticket item, I shy away from doing anything. I hide behind excuses - there is just not enough time, my resources are limited, and my talents are puny. However, pondered in light of Deborah’s expansive definition, I am able to truthfully acknowledge my status (busy life, budget-conscious, trying to discern the talents through which I can serve) and look for smaller ways I can contribute to Jesus’ call to live a lifestyle of Stewardship. For starters, I can stop grumbling about how tired and time-deprived I am as a result of all the moving activities I am involved in with mom’s house cleanout and relocation. I can simply offer this season of caregiving up to the Lord. I might not be able to end the plight of the beggars outside the places I shop or the roads I travel, but I can offer a dollar, a smile and a sincere, “God Bless You.” I can pick-up someone’s trash (minus my critical judgment of their fitness as a human being) and say “thank you” to the Lord for the gift of our beautiful earth. These small actions, performed with awareness and gratitude for life itself, help me become more God-centered and less self-centered. 
In the season of my childhood, the slogan of the household was, “It’s every man for himself.” We were a family that erected tall fences as barriers to keep others out. I can remember that I shared NOTHING! You touch my toy and I’ll knock you out!  Small wonder I had no friends. I was sad and lonely. Fortunately, I outgrew that season. It certainly influenced my parenting style when I entered the season of parenthood.  No doubt the messages we receive from our parents as children have an impact on how we interpret the world in which we live. A spirit of giving instills sharing and openness; while the habit of holding tightly produces fearfulness and isolation. We see this in large scale today as countries zealously defend their borders, deaf to the cries of the suffering people calling for compassion.
When I retire and begin still another new season of life, I hope to contribute time to my community without the restraints I currently impose on myself.  For today, I will look for smaller-scale opportunities to be a conscientious steward of all God’s gifts.

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