Come and be my disciple
We have just experienced the Season of Lent with prayer, fasting and almsgiving and then experienced Holy Week where we entered into the passion, and death of the Lord and finally we entered the Easter Season where we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior. If we truly lived these experiences then we know what it is to die with Christ and to rise with him to new life. Now our task is to live as His Disciple. What does that mean?
To be Disciples we must look at the topic of Stewardship. So often when people here the word stewardship they think only in terms of dollars and cents. You can see it on their faces and you can almost here them say, “How much will this cost us this time?” Stewardship is so much more than money. Stewardship is the grateful recognition that everything we have is a gift from God. Recognizing this we react with gratitude in prayer and service. Our Blessed Lord has been so generous to every one of us. He loves us unconditionally; he tends to our needs and provides us with necessary things to make our lives more comfortable. When we look at stewardship we must accept that God loved us first. He loved us from the moment of our conception and He knew us from the beginning and loved us always. He knows all about us, he knows our flaws, weaknesses, sinfulness, thoughts and actions. Yet he loves us and walks with us on this journey of life. How then can we ignore that and not respond with intense gratitude?
We can recall in the Gospel of Matthew where the master who was going away gave talents to three of his servants. On receiving them the servants responded quite differently. Two of the servants multiplied the talents and provided an increase when the master returned. One of the servants buried the talents and simply gave back what was given to him. Of course the result was the servants who multiplied the talents were given more responsibility and the one who buried the talent was stripped of his responsibility and chastised as someone not able to handle duties appropriately.
What kind of stewards are we? Our Catholic Bishops tell us, “As Christian stewards, we receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, and share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.” As Christians, we live in community. We live in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in faith as part of a human family. We are called to serve each other and to act responsibly. We are to embrace each other’s burdens, share each other’s struggles and to live the Covenant relationship experienced in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus.
What we have is not really ours; it all belongs to the Lord. He gives us everything for our use, but asks us to treasure all that we have with respect and gratitude. To use what we have wisely and not squander the gifts we have been given but share them willingly.
How are we spending the Lord’s time? How are we using His talents? How are we budgeting His money and resources? And most of all how are we living as His body here and now?
In order to be good stewards and to be true Disciples of the Lord, we must have an active prayer life. We need to talk with the Lord and listen for His direction about how we are to live. We need to work in tandem with our brothers and sisters and not function as independent agents. We need to examine and live our interdependence on one another and our dependence on God. We need to have clear vision about how we want to live. We need to make our worship alive and active and our faith strong to carry it with us with zeal. We need to make our faith something to be proud of and wear it with pride. We need to take time to learn all we can about the Lord and our church so that we can live lives of conviction and strength. We need to be willing to share our faith with those we encounter and we need to have a sense of Missionary zeal, spreading what we know to be true to everyone we meet.
Sounds like a tall order, but if we experience real true conversion of heart and mind, it really falls into place as a way of life. We need to take what we experienced in the Lord’s life, death and resurrection and live it fully. Will we take what we experienced and let it be a transformation, or will we put this experience back on the shelf until next year? It comes back to making choices. We can choose the way of the Lord and be His Disciples or we can ignore his invitation and go about business as usual, thinking we are in charge.
Materialism is the way of the world. The Lord wants us to be in relationship with Him and our brothers and sisters in faith and wants that to be more important than things. As good stewards we understand God does what we cannot do for ourselves and we believe God gives us all that we need. In gratitude we surrender ourselves and recognize in absolute amazement the generosity of our God. We start to understand that everything is gift and we see God’s hand in everything that happens. As good stewards we can set aside our need to control and we can trust that God’s plan is far better than our own. As we increase in our gratitude we can abandon our selfishness and pride. We know that God is God, that He gives us everything. We don’t need more because we have so much already.
If we live in the New Covenant, purchased with the body and blood of the Savior we will live our commitment to be a Eucharistic people. We will be models of hospitality, charity and kindness. We will greet everyone around us as though we are encountering Christ Himself. We will serve each other as Disciples of the Lord. Isn’t it time we all start recognizing the many gifts we have to be grateful for? Our challenge is to look with gratitude upon the generosity of the God who loves us unconditionally and always. Only then can we answer His invitation to come and be a Disciple.