“Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared…” – Neh 8:10
Ezra’s instructions to the people show us that God does not forbid us from enjoying the good things in life. He wants us to be happy! However, God expects us to be grateful for all that He has given us and through our Stewardship to generously share our blessings with those who are in need. Now here’s the hard part to share all we have without expecting anything in return.
“To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” (1 Cor 12:7)
St. Paul tells us that God has blessed each of us for a reason. How has God blessed you? Are you using your gifts according to God’s plan? How are you helping to build God’s kingdom here on earth? Remember that if you don’t do the work God planned for you, no one else can do it. Live the life God has intended for you. Take %me to discern your charisms (gifts from the Holy Spirit). Experience the supernatural Peace and Joy God desires for each of us His Stewards.
“John answered them all, ‘I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming…he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit...’” (Luke 3:16)
The Catholic Catechism states that “Jesus’ immersion in the water is a sign for all human beings of the need to die to themselves to do God’s will.” In other words, as bap zed Catholics living in Stewardship, there is only one gift that we need to give to Jesus the gift of ourselves. Surrender yourself to God, place your trust in Him and allow the Holy Spirit to work through you for the greater glory of God.
“…They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” –Matthew 2:11)
What gifts do Stewards give to the Lord? Pope St. Gregory said that these three gifts represent what we should give God every day. Gold we should reflect Christ’s wisdom in all our relationships. Frankincense represents our daily prayer and adoration to God. Myrrh is a symbol of our daily sacrifices that we unite with Jesus for the sake of others.
“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” (1 John 3:1)
During this season of giving, let us remember a beautiful gift that we have received being children of God! As God’s children, it’s in our DNA that we share and express our love for others as well. Tell your spouse, children other family members & friends that you love them, every day! Also, pray for those people that are different than you, those that you may not like or those that go out of their way to annoy you. Your prayers may be the start of a new friendship.
“For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy.” – Luke 1:44
When you hear the scripture readings and Gospel reading at Mass, do you “leap for joy?” If not, don’t blame the lecturer or priest, rather look inside yourself. What are you doing to grow in friendship with Jesus? How do you prepare for Mass each week? Or, do you just show up and expect to be entertained? As the Body of Christ, we are called to be active participants, not just passive observers
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make our requests known to God”– Philippians 4:6
St. Paul reminds us that God is an abundant God. He is the ultimate giver of gifts. He promises to give us all that we need. Remember, that we are created in God’s image and likeness. We, too are made to be generous with all of our gifts as well. Placing our trust in God frees us from being a slave to possessions. It allows us to gratefully and generously share ourselves and our goods with others.
"And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value..." (Philippians 1:9-10)
During the Christmas shopping season it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of buying gifts. But, is that “gift” truly an expression of your love for the other person. Or, are you just fulfilling your "obligation" to give them something? To grow in friendship with someone, you need to spend time with them, learn what is of value to them. Maybe this year, buy less "stuff" and spend more time those you love.