An author and professor of Sacred Scripture named Fr. Ronald Witherup once wrote about conversion of the apostle Paul, “Paul’s conversion is as dramatic a turning point as any in history. Whatever happened on the road to Damascus, the experience was powerful enough to turn the infant Church’s most passionate opponent into its champion… Paul’s tireless preaching and writing, extensive travels and personal sacrifice offer a lasting testament and guide to the Church. His life is a witness that conversion is not a one-time event, but a lifetime of commitment.”
And so it is with the “stewardship way of life.” “Stewardship is not a one-time event, but a lifetime of commitment.” It isn’t simply a designated period of time each year that comes and goes in the guise of being a parish program with activities and certain days to do this or that. And for most of us, it all begins with a conversion of sorts to the stewardship way of life. I often tell people that “I was raised a Catholic, but I am a convert. I am a convert to the stewardship way of life, and that leads to authentic discipleship.” We are all “works” in progress, constantly discovering and learning to be Disciples of Christ. There are conversions waiting to happen in all of us. As we get to know the Apostle Paul better this year, don’t be surprised that we notice in him a good steward of God’s gifts. And it happened because of his conversion.
Some say that the only way that Christ could get Paul’s attention was to literally knock him off his horse. As Paul hit the ground, the ground hit him and his life was changed forever, as was that of the Church. I imagine there were times when he said of the experience, “I didn’t know what hit me.” And still other times, more often than not, Paul knew that it was Christ Himself who “hit” him with the power of His grace – which became the foundation of his conversion.
Has the stewardship way of life caught your attention yet? Have you been noticing that Christ is changing our lives in the parish in which we live and celebrate the sacraments? Have you been “converted” to the stewardship way of life? I am praying that all of us will be open to this kind of conversion. I do believe Jesus Christ is calling of us to be His disciples, and He wants to get our attention. He got Paul’s attention and changed him forever. Let’s learn from Paul the language of stewardship. I guarantee, Jesus is going to get our attention; even if it takes getting “knocked off our horse.”