October 19, 2014 – Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Is 45: 1, 4-6; Ps 96: 1-5, 7-10; 1 Thes 1: 1-5B; Mt 22: 15-21
As indicated many times previously in these reflections, it is difficult to reflect comprehensively on the totality of the readings for a particular Sunday, and it is often more effective to focus our thoughts on something smaller, although significant. Saint Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, our second reading, offers one of those insights.
Most scholars believe that the letter to the people of Thessalonica, Greece (the Thessalonians) was perhaps the first of the many letters Paul wrote. Note that in his opening greeting, Paul makes it from not just himself, but from Silvanus and Timothy as well. As successful as Paul was as an evangelist and an apostle, he recognized early on that it was not something he could do or accomplish alone.
In addition to God’s help, St. Paul gathered a team around him, which he used and empowered in many ways. Sometimes each of us may think we are more efficient operating alone. Stewardship on the other hand calls us to see that we are part of a community, and that community can accomplish more as a group than any one of us can individually. That is the strength of community stewardship, a faith-filled people working hand in hand to build the Kingdom of God. There is a Tibetan proverb which states, “If you help someone to the top of the mountain, you reach the peak also.”