By MATT POTTER
RADICAL JOY CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP AND ABUNDANCE
Today we answer questions from the truckloads of mail we get at Radical Joy World Headquarters.
Dear Matt: I read where stewardship is about giving my time, my talent and my treasure to the Church. Is that true? Signed, Perplexed.
Dear Perplexed: Nothing like getting right to the heart of the matter, is there? While it would be easier to answer “yes” or “no,” it’s not quite that simple. Let’s break it down.
- Talent is, at its base, about getting involved. Be a cantor, a lector, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, an usher, a sacristan. Help out with funeral lunches, summer socials, teach a class, coordinate a Bible study. Stock the food pantry, hand out sack lunches, join outreach ministries to the homeless. Run for parish council, join the finance council, sing in the choir. Get the idea?
- Time can be rephrased to “prayer.” Pray more. Let your imagination run and think what might happen to the world if we all prayed for 15 minutes more each day.
- Treasure is about money. In order to carry out the work of the Lord, money is necessary. It is the most challenging for us, too, as we tend to hold on to this the tightest and the longest. I have heard it said that if you want to know what a person really values, look at his checkbook register. I know that comment ages me, but you understand it.
- To the Church – When we give our time, talent and treasure to the Church, they are a return of God’s gifts to us, with increase. We may give them to our parish, but they are really to the Catholic Church, of which Jesus Christ is still the head, because the parish is part of the Church.
So, Perplexed, the answer is “Yes.”
Dear Matt: Why is Father always asking for money? Signed, Guarding my Wallet
Dear Guarding: A long time ago I stopped using the words “always” and “never.” As it turns out, they are inaccurate descriptors. Your question is a case in point.
I have heard this asked many times over the past decade. I will answer you the same way I have answered the others. He is not always asking for money.
Does Father ask for money? Yes. He knows it takes money to get the work done. There are data that show only about 5% of parishioners give regularly without being asked. That means that 95% of parishioners need to be asked before they will make a gift. If Father does not ask, the money stops coming in and the lights go off in just a short time.
Is Father always asking for money? This is your challenge. The next time you go to Mass, pay close attention to his homily. Is he asking for money there? How about during the Prayers of the Faithful? Those are really the only two times he has discretion about what to say, as the rest of the Mass is prayed from the missal in front of him. If you listen carefully to the readings and prayers between the processional and recessional hymns, you won’t hear Father asking for money there, either.
Sometimes Father asks for money because we won’t give without him asking. Nobody is coming to take it from you, either. Go ahead, relax your grip and be free.
Send your questions to Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or mail them to Radical Joy World Headquarters, 4200 N. Kentucky Avenue, Evansville, IN 47715.
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