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Today kicks off the Big Reveal of the 2015 Stewardship Renewal. € This year’s theme is “The Joy of the Gospel: Faith Working through Love.“ It is so important for us as a parish to embrace the renewal process each year. The new theme, along with reflection and prayer helps us to discern God’s specific stewardship call for us in the upcoming year. God is always calling us to renewal and growth. It may be that God is not calling us to change the amount of our gifts of time, talent and treasure this year. Rather, it might be that he is inviting us to carry out our stewardship with a more genuine spirit. 

This year’s theme of “€The Joy of the Gospel: Faith Working Through Love” addresses both our tangible gifts of stewardship and the spirit in which we offer these gifts. € The renewal phrase, “€Th e Joy of the Gospel” reflects a way of life that is not oppressive, downcast or reticent. € The way of life in which we follow Christ by faith working through love is to be living a life of joy. God intends for our stewardship to leave us joyful. Jesus himself states that, “I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.” Of course, it will be generous and sacrificial, but that doesn't take away the joy associated with stewardship.

This call to live out our stewardship with joy invites us to a sifting of the heart. We might ask ourselves, what motivates my giving of time, talent and treasure? Is it because I am fearful of Hell or is it to fulfill a requirement for sponsorship of my child in a Catholic School? If these are the reasons for fulfilling our stewardship of faith working through love, then we will certainly not experience the Joy of the Gospel. This form of stewardship will leave us as “sad face saints.” St. € Theresa of Avila once stated, “From sad face saints, good Lord, deliver us.”

As this year’s theme is shared with the parish in the Big Reveal, let’s take advantage of the opportunity to examine our motivation for living the stewardship way of life as disciples of Christ. It might be that the Lord wants to renew our hearts and motivation for being his disciples.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Fr. John F. Jirak

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