Please mark you calendar and save the date for an Advent reflection (Tuesday evening, December 3) and a Lenten reflection (Tuesday evening, March 3), both from 7 to 8 pm.
Our readings this weekend challenge another one of our human tendencies: to be concerned with ourselves to the exclusion of others. The prophet Amos slams the luxuriously wealthy, who wallow in their riches while neglecting the poor. He tells them that they will be the first to go into exile.
The Gospel is the well-known parable of the rich man and Lazarus. In life, the rich man completely ignored Lazarus; in death, he viewed Lazarus as a slave, asking God to “send Lazarus” to dip his finger in water and to “send Lazarus” to his brothers.
It is easy to come to the conclusion that wealth is bad, but that is not what the scriptures are telling us. Material wealth, honestly acquired, is a gift from God, as are time and the talents God has given us. The rich man’s sin was NOT being wealthy; his sin was not sharing the gifts he had been given with others. Another way to say it is that we are obligated to be good stewards of the time, talent, and treasure that the Lord has given us, and being good stewards means paying attention to the needs around us and SHARING.
When we think of being stewards or “stewardship,” often we think only of money and material things. And it IS crucial that we who have been given so much be aware of the needs around us and be willing to share. But it also means sharing our time and our talents. For example, there are so many elderly or sick who live alone and to whom a half hour donation of our time for a visit is worth more than material things. If I have a talent for sewing or for woodcraft, donating some of my time and talent to help furnish an atrium for our Catechesis of the Good Shepherd religious education is a meaningful way to be a good steward of the gifts God has given. Etc. Etc.
We have started a custom of reflecting in silence after communion on the question, What is God calling me to today? It is a good question to ask ourselves each morning as we spend some quiet time with the Lord, listening for God’s prompting on how we can best use the many gifts we have been given of time, talent, and treasure. And let us support each other in prayer, as we struggle to grow in being good stewards.
-- Paul James Portland, SDS