Working Together

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 6th Sunday of Easter 2017

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My children could never succeed without their mother and me. That isn’t me thinking too much of ourselves, it is just a fact. No one can find success in life in total isolation. I could never have become who I am today without my parents, various teachers and mentors, and my wife. Truth be told, I probably owe a lot of who I am to my children as well.

I can only imagine the fear and concern of the first disciples when it was apparent that Jesus was not going to be with them much longer. Some probably thought since Jesus had risen from the dead, he might just live with them in the same way forever. But Jesus tried to calm their fears by assuring them, “I will not leave you orphans.” He said He would continue to come to them and that He would send the Spirit to be with them at all times. They would not have to continue what He had started and preach the Good News to the ends of the earth on their own.

We may sometimes feel that we are alone. We may at times try to do too much or show others that we are independent and strong. However, without the help of others, without the help of God, true success will always elude us. Our actions and words can become empty. The gifts we have received can either be cultivated in secret and in the shadows, or we can welcome the help that God provides in His Spirit, His community, and the sacraments He gave us. By working together the world will truly know the power of the Risen Lord.

Listening for His Voice

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Easter 2017

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In the past year, my wireless provider introduced something called HD Voice. Suddenly, the voice I heard on my phone was unbelievably clear and it felt at times like both the caller and I were in the same room. The best aspect of this feature is that it didn’t cost the customer any additional fees and it didn’t require any changes to the phone. I could say it was free, but I suspect I was already paying for it in my monthly bill anyway. At least it felt free.

The clearer the voice calling you, the easier it is to recognize who it is on the other end of the call. How clearly can you hear the voice of Jesus Christ? In John’s gospel, Jesus speaks of the gatekeeper who opens the gate and calls for his sheep. They respond because they know his voice. Others try to lure the sheep when the gatekeeper is not there, but the sheep find their voices unclear or unfamiliar.

Jesus is our gatekeeper, but unlike receiving something for free from a wireless company, to be able to hear His voice we need to pay attention and practice listening. By developing a stewardship way of life that is mindful and prayerful, we become attuned to His voice and are able to discern when the call is from Our Lord and when it is from an imposter. It is great to talk about all the things we can do and all the gifts we can share, but if are not listening for His call to hear where our offerings are needed, we can end up like a lost sheep searching for the gatekeeper.