Last Sunday was Father’s Day, as you obviously know. My Daddy met his Heavenly Father almost 13 years ago and the father of my children no longer lives in the area. So what did I do instead? I hosted a big family reunion!
My maternal grandmother bore eight children with only four living to adulthood. Of those four, only two had children; my mom and my Aunt Janet. The Jamison family consists of 7 first cousins, 20 second cousins (the children of the first cousins) and 11 third cousins (the children of the second cousins).
During my childhood, my cousins came to Oceanside every Thanksgiving and we drove to Los Angeles every Christmas. After ”the kids grew up”, my mom would host a get-together every few years at her home in Oceanside. It was always very well attended. The last time we were all together (eight years ago) it was hosted by my mom but held at my home because mom was frail by then.
Most of our family still lives either locally or in the Los Angeles area, but one flew down from Olympia, Washington and another came in from Wisconsin.
I talked to many people when I was planning this gathering, and several of them remarked that they wish their family was that close. One friend said, sadly, that he didn’t think any of his cousins would drive across town to get together, much less come across the country. It made me realize how lucky I am to have a family that is so connected even when we don’t see each other for awhile.
Okay, Barbie, that’s nice. But what’s your point? How is this about living Stewardship in your everyday life?
Well, I always tell people that Stewardship is consciously recognizing that all that we are and all that we have is a Gift of God.
How can you deny that God gave me a beautiful family who truly are wonderful faith-filled human beings who care about each other. God blessed our family so richly.
Every point of connection is a chance to share the unique gifts that God has given you. Even though many of my cousins and family are no longer practicing Catholics, we were all raised in a very traditional Catholic environment. Several of them admitted that they are still Catholics in their heart and that the ideals of the Catholic faith still shapes their thoughts and actions.
You never know when and how the Holy Spirit will choose to work through you. Put yourself in situations to connect with others and get out of God’s way—He has a plan for you and for the people you encounter!
For many individuals and families alike, summer means travel. And summer travel may mean new visitors to our parish for weekend liturgies. How we greet and provide hospitality for our guests says a lot about our practice of good stewardship.
Providing hospitality to strangers is a hallmark of Christian stewardship. In the Gospel of Matthew good stewards were commended for their hospitality: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matt. 25:35).
Saint Benedict directed his followers to receive guests and travelers as if they were Christ. Extending hospitality is especially important when it comes to welcoming visitors who may be attending Mass at our parish for the first time.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence suggesting that the ability of a first-time visitor to have a meaningful experience of Christ in the liturgy is directly impacted by the warmth of the welcome extended by the local worshipping community.
When people say hello, the worship experience is enhanced. A warm welcome is part of evangelization, work necessary in a church’s mission to help people discover or renew their faith in Christ.
How do we treat the unknown person who walks by us in church, or who sits next to us at Mass? Do we ignore them? Talk around them? Look at them and say nothing? Do we take the initiative to greet them, smile, extend a warm handshake?
Remember, we are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). Our actions and reactions toward visitors at Mass communicate who we are and who we represent.
Have you considered inviting one person (whether or not you’ve seen them before) to walk down to the Parish Center (corner of Pier View/Freeman) for a cup of coffee and a donut? Almost every Sunday, the hosting group also has something yummy for sale—breakfast burritos, carne asada tacos, a bake sale.
Let us take time to welcome visitors to our parish this summer. Welcoming gestures, however small, will not only have a positive impact on visitors, they will make us more hospitable ambassadors of Christ.
This past Memorial Day weekend, when so many were standing around the barbeque in the back yard or picnicking at the beach, I was on a family road trip to San Jose.
I made the trek to watch my daughter receive her Master’s Degree in Library & Information Sciences (MLIS) from San Jose State University. I’m sharing this story for several reasons.
The first is that I am so proud of her. She worked 30-40 hours/week during her entire school career while attending school full time.
The second is to offer others encouragement. Sometimes we struggle more than we think is appropriate. Why am I not making progress? What’s up with that? As I was sitting in the bleachers, I realized that she had graduated from high school in 2002. I did the math in my head; it had taken her 14 years to reach this point. It took four years from AA to BA and three BA to MLIS. How do we have so much time left over?
Rachel wanted to be a teacher since the fourth grade. Once she entered Community College and was exposed to so many fields of study, she became overwhelmed with her choices. She just started taking classes in all fields of study. She finally realized that her love of literature trumped all else. She eventually graduated from CSUSM with a degree in Comparative Literature with a plan to be a teacher at the Community College level.
She then decided that she would rather be part of getting literature in the hands of the population than teaching students about specific literature. She graduated with an emphasis on Youth and hopes one day to run a youth program in a public library. She is deeply concerned about literacy issues as well.
My point is that our goals are not always fully understood from the beginning. We also can easily get side-tracked along the way. I think about so many of us on our faith journeys. The goal is not always clear. There may even be a period of time when we lose sight of the goal altogether.
On our faith journey as Christians, SALVATION is our ultimate goal.
We are warned in Matthew that we do not know the hour or the day. My advice for you as well as myself is to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep your eye on the prize.