A couple of weeks ago I presented the book, “Divine Renovation” by Fr. James Mallon, and I commented how the vision that he lays out in the book about moving parishes from maintenance to mission is a vision Fr. William liked. So he had the Pastoral Council begin reading it before I got here. They introduced me to it, and I also see how pertinent and necessary it is for our parish at this time. We won’t be doing everything exactly as he has done and reports in the book, and even he discourages this, as he realizes that every parish is different and the exact application of the different principles will vary. A good starting point for us is Stewardship. How do we care for our parish? Besides registering in the parish and showing up for Mass on Sunday (or Saturday evening) is there any other way that I can say that I invest in the parish, care for the Parish, help the parish actively to fulfill its mission? Even though we are trying to get everyone to heaven which is literally “Out of this World”, we fulfill that mission in this world, and everything in this world costs something.
Nothing we have in this world is completely of ourselves or our own effort. God gave us life and our particular talents to begin this journey, and His providence has provided the opportunities that we have had to prosper and flourish in the walk of life that He has called us to; even Cain and Abel recognized this. They offered some of the fruits of their labor back to the Lord. (Genesis 4: 3-7) Obviously, the gifts that the brothers offered to God, in themselves were insignificant to Him, as God can make anything from nothing. What impressed God, was the attitude and love that the gifts represented. Cain’s represented a minimalist attitude of just getting by, doing it out of a sense of secondary duty not primary love. Abel’s gift, being the finest firstling of his flock, represented a beautiful attitude of humility, love, and generosity, and thus it pleased the Lord. So we see that the idea of giving back to God some of the goodness which we are able to produce from His gifts goes back to the very beginning of the human race.
We are going to have to come together as a truly unified team to fulfill our mission bearing Christ out for all, but first we must meet Christ in loving generosity as we pray about our tithing to the Parish.