With God there is nothing without purpose, nothing without its meaning and reason. Thus the people of Israel used to dedicate tithes of their possessions. But those who have been given freedom devote what they possess to the Lord’s use. They give it all to him, not simply what is of lesser value, cheerfully and freely because they hope for greater things, like the poor widow who put into God’s treasury her whole livelihood.

St. Irenaeus, bishop +202

Quote of the Week 2-14-17 Stewardship in the Early Church

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Deacon Lincoln’s Log 2-5-17

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“Thus says the LORD: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.”
Is. 58:7-10

“…your good deeds must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Mt. 5:16

There are times when the world appears to be falling apart. For many people, this is one of those times. Writing nearly 15 years ago, Sr. Joan Chittister wrote,

The world is getting smaller, they tell us, but we know that it is also getting to be more than that. It is getting infinitely more confusing, infinitely more uncontrollable at the same time. We are now a people whose children are born in one state, educated in another, employed in a third, retired in a fourth, and buried in a fifth. We are people who wear clothes made in one nation, eat food grown in another, and work for someone who is a citizen of a third. We are a people who travel the world and take it for granted. We are a globe on which some of the largest economies in the world are corporations, not nations. We are people born in a white, Western Christian culture that we watch become more brown, more Eastern, more polyvalent every day (Scarred by Struggle, Transformed by Hope).

This statement is even truer today.

How do we live in this bewildering world?

It’s not rocket science. “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own” (Is. 58:7-10). We are called to live in this constantly changing world with gentleness and peace. The beatitudes (Mt. 5:1-12) are our guide. No matter how perplexing the situation is, we are called to live as disciples of Jesus, giving and receiving love.

This gives us a starting point to engage our culture. When we are confronted with new situations we can look to the guidance of Jesus through the teaching of the church. During these changing times, it is more important than ever to stay rooted in prayer. Being a disciple does not make life easier, but it does help us find clarity in the midst of constant change.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 1-22-17

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“Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.”

Mt. 4:22

“As members of the Church, Jesus calls us to be disciples. This has astonishing implications:

  • Mature disciples make a conscious decision to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost.
  • Christian disciples experience conversion – life-shaping changes of mind and heart – and commit their very selves to the Lord.
  • Christian stewards respond in a particular way to the call to be a disciple. Stewardship has the power to shape and mold our understanding of our lives and the way in which we live.” (from Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response)

Each one of us has been called by Jesus. Following that call, we enter onto the same path that Peter, Andrew, James, and John began in today’s Gospel. It is the path of discipleship. The path is filled with joy and sorrow, loss and recovery, healing and pain. Today’s Gospel highlights a particular pattern we all encounter on this path of discipleship: leaving and following.

Peter and the others left their boats and their father. Their jobs and their families were less important than following Jesus! Our own path as disciples also entails leaving. Each of us leaves behind whatever it is that gets in the way of following Jesus: our ego, our pride, our greed…. We leave it behind and take the next step as disciples.

And those steps, like Peter, Andrew, James, and John’s steps, lead us down a path filled with generosity and sacrifice. ““Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mt. 16:24). The early disciples were often confused about what Jesus was asking of them, but it was always clear that His call was to generously serve the “little ones” (see Mt. 25).

Our call is the same. How are we following the Lord?

You received a stewardship flyer in the mail recently. It is an opportunity to respond to Jesus call to sacrificial service and generosity. Take some time to complete the flyer and return it to the parish. God calls us together to follow Jesus.

Peace,

Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 8-11-13

Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.”

Lk. 12:48

With great power comes great responsibility.”

Spiderman’s Uncle Ben

While we may not be Spiderman, we have each been given everything we have from God. The first response to the gift of our lives – everything we have and everything we are – is gratitude. It is all a gift, after all.

Our next response is generosity. We have been given each of these gifts to be shared with others. We have a responsibility to one another, whether we have been given a lot or a little. Our gifts connect us to one another and demand to be shared.

Sometimes fear prevents us from being generous. Jesus says to us, “Do not be afraid any longer… “ (Lk 12: 32). The Kingdom of God has been given to us. There is nothing to fear. Sometimes it is hard to believe this but it is true. The generous God who blesses us daily will not abandon us in our need. With that confidence we can reach out to others and mirror the generosity God has shown us.

This week reflect on what you have been entrusted with. Do you have previously unknown gifts that are now calling to be shared? Have you shared your gifts generously? How can you grow in generosity? What fears prevent you from sharing the gifts God has entrusted to you?

We may not be able to leap from building to building or cling to walls, but we do have gifts to share. Let’s grow in generosity together.

Peace,

Lincoln A. Wood

Using, not serving, money

Jesus makes it abundantly clear that we must never serve money; yet, at the very same time he urges us to “make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon” (Matt. 6:24, Luke 16:9). How are we to break the horns of this strange dilemma? We do so by first conquering the spiritual power money has over us, and once we have conquered it we are free to use it for kingdom purposes. We are never to serve money; but having conquered it we are then able to use money for the common good. Never serving. Ever using.

Richard Foster