Put On Christ

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for All Saints Day 2016

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Years ago, we began having students at our parish school dress up like saints of their choosing in anticipation of All Saints Day. It was a more worthwhile learning experience than dressing up as superheroes and cartoon characters for Halloween. You would have those would bring aluminum swords as St. Michael, bottles of water so they could try to baptize everyone like John the Baptist, and rubber snakes to drive out of Ireland like St. Patrick. The most creative might come to school covered in ash for St. Joan of Arc, or with fake eyeballs on a plate for St. Lucy.

For a day, they put on the dress and persona of a saint that had gone before us in faith. It was a learning experience, but also an exercise in spirituality. What attributes of the saint could they try to incorporate into their life? What kind of example were they to us all in our Christian walk?

As Christians, the fact is that everyday we put on Christ and should be walking around as imitators of our Lord. To be Christian is not to just be like Christ. We are called to be Christ to a world that needs to hear the Good News.

A stewardship way of life serves as an example to others of the transformative power of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that we live in such a way that those around no longer see us, but instead, Jesus. This is not costume contest or an opportunity for a school party. This is real life. Let us put on Christ each and every day and boldly play the role of a lifetime.

Short in Stature; Big in Love

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016

An icon from St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in East Brunswick, NJ

An icon from St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church in East Brunswick, NJ

My wife is on the shorter side so she has always had a great love for the story of Zacchaeus, the wealthy tax collector that was too small to see Jesus over the crowd so he climbed a tree in order to see better. For many years she was a catechist and loved telling that story to children because by their age alone they were short. My wife and Zacchaeus are proof that good things come in small packages. But Zacchaeus’ size is not why Jesus showed him favor. It was his faith in Jesus and his eagerness to serve Him.

Climbing a tree is not always a safe way to gain a better vantage point to see. But if you were really moved to see someone very important, you might risk it. Hosting someone in your house that you admire or want desperately to please can be nerve-racking. But the chance to be near them and show them your love makes it all worth it. And it is not an easy commitment to change one’s entire life and become a new person. But if you believed that the one asking you was the source of all life, the commitment might be seen as a necessity.

We should pray everyday for the desire and excitement of Zacchaeus when it comes to our relationship with Jesus Christ. If we are intentional disciples, we have had an encounter with the Lord much like Zacchaeus. However, our decision to live a stewardship way of life can sometimes be delayed. If we are like Zacchaeus, our sheer love of Christ will propel us to give all we have to Him and resolve to live transformed lives of generosity. No matter how small we are it is the enormity of our love for God, and His love for us, that makes all the difference.