Our Parish Stewardship Renewal every year reminds us that everything we have and everything we are belongs to God. It is all a gift. The stewardship way of life calls us to live every day from a place of gratitude, to generously share what we have and to leave the world a better place because we were here. As we saw last week, this year’s Parish Stewardship Renewal has highlighted that as good stewards we are to live with accountability to God and each other for all that has been entrusted to us.
This Sunday, Matthew’s Gospel gives us the two great commandments. These are that we are to love God with our whole being and that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40). These two commandments are of equal importance. Love of neighbor is proof that we mean it when we say we love God. For us, neighbor includes all those who are easy for us to love. Neighbor also includes the difficult people in our lives, those who are undesirable and even our enemies.
How can we possibly live up to the demands of this commandment? The answer is through the life of our parish. Every Sunday we stand up to the negativity of the world through the celebration of Mass. Even though in person participation is limited now, we are strengthened by the presence of the Lord in the Scriptures and Eucharist. We are reassured by each other’s presence knowing we are all praying for each other.
In our parish, from birth to death we are formed in the ways of our Catholic faith. Adults are initiated into the Church, our children are baptized, receive First Communion and are confirmed in the Holy Spirit. Couples are joined in Holy Matrimony, our sins are forgiven, the infirm are strengthened and our beloved deceased are given their final farewell as they enter eternal life. Those in need get relief through our community outreach. All of us are stronger because we are part of a visible community of faith.
Financially supporting Christ Cathedral Parish helps all of this and more to happen. This week, all registered parishioners will receive a letter from me along with an envelope indicating what portion of your financial resources you will pledge to support the parish during the coming year. Please return the envelope by mail, drop it off at the parish or put it in the collection basket next Sunday. The generosity of our parishioners has been so inspiring during these challenging times. Whatever portion of your financial resources you pledge to share during this coming year is very much appreciated. Your love of God and neighbor is truly evident!
Together in faith,
Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector