In today’s second reading, Saint Paul confirms that Jesus is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Jesus is the first and the best of humanity, who gave himself back to the Father at the end of his earthly life as a one-time offering for all our sins.
God should be a priority in our lives, and as stewards we should give him our first and best efforts, no matter how difficult that may be. Yet, we need to think: when we share our time, talent, and treasure with others, do we give out of pride, or because we are thankful for all God has given us? Do we give out of fear or obligation, or out of love and thanksgiving? Giving of ourselves, lovingly and thankfully, can give us the courage to do many things for others, even as far as to speak out against injustice without fear of retribution or retaliation.
Each one of us is accountable to God for the gifts he has given us, and as stewards we cannot keep our gifts to ourselves. If I have gifts to offer and share, I shouldn’t be using them for my own personal glory, but for God’s.
Since we rely on God’s support, we can take the psalmist’s words to heart, that “whatever he does, prospers” (Psalm 1:3); we hope one day these words will apply to us and all we do. Let us continue our efforts even when it’s difficult, so we become like the trees in the first reading (Jeremiah 17:8) that show no distress in the drought, but still bear fruit for God and for others.
Finally, as Jesus tells us today in the Beatitudes (Luke 6:23), we can rejoice and leap for joy, because our reward will be great in heaven from our trust in God – and the fruits of our stewardship.
--Jim Wollak, Parishioner
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