I am finally back living in my community at 37th and Kilbourn. As I walk more and do steps, the pain should lessen. I appreciate all the prayers and support I have been receiving.
Our Formation and Evangelization Commission has chosen dates for a parish reflection night for Advent and another for Lent. Both are on Tuesday evening. Please save the date and plan to attend from 7 to 8 pm on December 3, 2019, and March 3, 2020.
By showing us the lengths committed and driven people will go to achieve a goal, our readings challenge us to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us. The prophet Amos describes the ambition of those out to make a profit: they can’t wait for the Sabbath to be over so they can continue cheating, fix the scales, do fast tricks with coins, sell refuse of wheat, and even sell the poor as slaves. They will do anything to make a buck.
The Gospel picks up the theme with the parable of the unjust steward, who squandered his master’s property and, when caught, gave away even more so that people would protect and take care of him when he lost his job. Jesus was not focusing on honesty or dishonesty, but was pointing out the energy and cunning the steward used to get what he wanted.
Jesus is challenging his followers (that’s us) to have the same energy, cunning, and drive to build up the Kingdom as the wicked people that Amos was attacking and the steward in the Gospel had to get money and security for themselves. It is an invitation to have energy, drive, and desire to live a Gospel life of love of God, shown through service to others.
Our parish goal this year is to energize ourselves and others to be better disciples. We want to have the drive and the cunning of the characters we met in our readings, not for ourselves and our security, but to build up the Kingdom. We don’t have to be in positions of importance to do this. For example, I invite you to read this article about a shoe shine man and the influence he has had by making his faith the core of his life: https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/heshines-light-new-orleans-shoeshine-stand or put "he shines a light from a New Orleans shoeshine stand" in your browser.
At the suggestion of some of our parish leaders, I am starting a practice of pausing for a few minutes after Communion for each of us to reflect on this question: what is God calling me to today? The answer might address something that is happening in my life at the moment, such as to settle an argument I am having with someone or to visit someone who is ill. Another time it might be something more long term, like joining a parish ministry, helping with religious education, etc. Whatever might come to mind, it is in the quiet of our hearts, after having received the Body and Blood of Christ, that the Lord will speak to us.
I invite us to reflect this week: how much energy and drive do I have to be a disciple of Christ, that is, bring His Good News to those around me? What might the Lord be calling me to today? And, as always, let us pray for each other as we strive to be better disciples.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS
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