Well done, my good and faithful servant!

I am writing this “Corner” from Mexico City. I am here on an inspirational pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe with a number of our parishioners. I wish I could be both places (there and here) to help and be involved, as we celebrate our annual Parish Fall Festival. I realize it takes a great many volunteers, as well as a great deal of planning and hard work, in order to attain a successful result with this bi-annual fund-raising effort.

My sincere heartfelt thanks go out to all of you who have unselfishly dedicated your time and energy to launch this fall event on such short notice. A special thank you to our Festival chairperson, Ben Lelina, and his committee men and women, for their diligence and effort. As I am sure you are aware, the Festival and Carnival are key stewardship events for our parish. Besides the fact that they are our most successful fund raisers for our parish building fund, they have also become highly successful in increasing fellowship and new acquaintances among our ever-growing number of parishioner families. They have also proven to facilitate goodwill and friendship with all our neighbors (Catholic and non-Catholic) in the surrounding communities. I cannot begin to count the many
unsolicited compliments I have received from area residents, in local stores and shops, simply for us providing this community-accessible entertainment, recreation, fun and food.

We recently completed our Time and Talent fair and I would like to thank all of you who came forward to volunteer for activity in a new ministry. I was gone this week, but until I can personally thank you, please accept my thanks and appreciation written here, for volunteering your valuable time and talent, as good stewards, to the many areas of our church’s need. To those who have yet to do so, please know that your talent will be most
appreciated in any of our many ministries.

The last line of this Sunday’s Gospel Reading from St. Matthew contains one of the more well known quotes from Jesus. When He was asked a bit of a trick question by the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?”…we hear Jesus respond by questioning them as to whose image is on their Roman coins, to which their simple reply is: “Caesar’s.” And Jesus’ subsequent response (which most of us know by heart) is:
“Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” This answer by the Lord is far more perceptive than it might first appear, as it gives yet another message to us…a message we must always remember. For if we are truly followers of Christ, and are truly working to be His disciples, the Lord might just pose the question to us: “Whose image is on your soul?” We should all recall that in the First Chapter of Genesis, we are told that God created us in His image. So, the coin may be stamped with Caesar’s image, but each one of us is stamped with God’s image. Therefore, Jesus is implying that while the coin may be Caesar’s, each of us belongs to God, and in that regard we should be striving to be all those things to which Jesus called us.

We have heard parable story after parable story from Jesus, where he stresses what is expected of us in His constant call and expectation for us to be good stewards. So that is, in effect, what a Stewardship Way of Life is — recognizing that God is indeed in each one of us, and that we are meant to place ourselves in service to God, as well as to one another. That is what is really meant by “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” Our time, our talent, and our treasure do all belong to Him… “on loan” so-to-speak…with the expectation that we will do good things (pleasing to Him) with them.

Thank you to all the many long-time devoted Stewards of our parish. You will certainly hear a “Well done!” from me, but what is more important will be hearing the praise from Jesus Himself at our day of reckoning…”Well done my good and faithful servant…”. That’s what stewardship is all about.

Yours in the Son of Mary, Our Mother,