November 10, 2019 — Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings challenge us to focus on the “why” of stewardship. Why embrace this challenging way of life when it seems hard enough just to pay the bills, take care of our loved ones, meet the demands of our jobs and fall into bed at the end of each full day? Because this life is not all there is. We were made for more — for eternal happiness in union with God. While we cannot earn our way into Heaven, what we do now with the life God has given us has eternal consequences. Stewardship living helps us to keep focused on our hoped-for destination in the choices we make each day.
Our first reading, from the Second Book of Maccabees, gives an inspiring ex-ample of people committed to living for God and striving for eternal happiness with Him. This passage revolves around seven brothers and their mother who were being tortured for refusing to eat pork in violation of God’s law. They accepted the torture even to the point of death. This courage was, of course, not about the pork!
It was about love. It was about their awareness that their lives were a gift from God, and it was their grateful response in choosing to live for Him above all else, even if obedience to His laws meant suffering and death. In fact, as one brother was told to put out his tongue (no doubt for some cruel purpose), he offered not only his tongue but his hands, as well, saying, “It was from Heaven that I received these; for the sake of his laws I disdain them; from him I hope to receive them again.” That is commitment to one’s convictions.
Stewardship is not ultimately about the particular amount or kind of time, talent and treasure that we offer. It is about the conviction that everything we have is a gift from our loving God, Whom we can never truly repay, and with Whom we want to live forever. Revisiting these three aspects of our lives on a regular basis, prayerfully discerning the best use of our gifts, and putting this down in writing clarifies and strengthens our conviction to put God first. It is a clear guide and a powerful aid in living out this conviction in concrete ways day by day.
To borrow the words from St. Paul to the Thessalonians in our second reading, our stewardship commitments help us “direct [our] heart to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.”
In our Gospel passage from Luke, Christ reminds us very clearly that we were made for more than just this life, and that our choices in this life have eternal consequences. In this passage, our Lord corrects some Sadducees for their mistaken notion that there is no resurrection. He instructs that “those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead… can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise…”
Why should we embrace the stewardship way of life? So that we will use this life to thank God for all His gifts to us and so that we may attain the gift of eternal life and everlasting happiness of Heaven with Him.