We have all been given an immense gift, our Catholic faith. What an amazing privilege to be Catholic and live the Catholic faith with clarity, passion, responsibility, zeal, and joy. Having been given this treasure, we must be passionate and responsible stewards of the Church.
Our journey as Catholics begins with our Baptism. The Easter candle reminds us of the commitment that began with our immersion into Christ. Confirmation, our own personal Pentecost, deepens and completes the sacrament of Baptism. Through these two sacraments we are called to be committed members of the Church.
The passionate and responsible steward will be totally committed. Commitment means that a decision has been made; the decision to love Jesus and to live His Gospel. Only the immature will be incapable of making a commitment. Commitment to Jesus and His Church requires the same commitment as marriage. It is a definitive commitment surpassing any other in challenge and difficulty.
A few days before my friends Bob and Helen were going to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary, I had the privilege of joining them for a home-cooked meal at their lovely East Texas home. As Helen gave the final touches to the to the delicious dinner she would be serving that evening, I asked her what was the secret that had caused her and her husband, Bob, to remain faithful to each other for so many years. Without hesitating, Helen turned from the stove and replied, "It's commitment Father." Bob smiled in agreement as Helen went on to explain that while they both might have become very different people with the passage of time, they had made a commitment to each other fifty years ago and that had been that.
Their commitment had demanded maturity, sacrifice, and a lot of love over the years. Commitment means we have the ability to make a definitive decision and never seriously to consider turning back from the path that we have chosen. Commitment means that we will follow through with the consequences of that decision through the difficulties and tedium of daily existence.
Easter and Baptism, Pentecost and Confirmation have permanently changed the direction of our lives. We are now committed forever.
As passionate and responsible stewards of the Church, we live out our commitment through the witness of our way of life. However, being good, avoiding evil, is not enough. We are called to be living members of the Church. It is precisely through the passionate and responsible use of our time, talent, and treasure that we contribute to the growth and development of our parish family. Each of us has been empowered to be an active member of our parish family and we have the responsibility to live out our commitment within our parish.
Sadly, people have been alarmed at the growing number of parishes that have been closing in some parts of the nation. However, new parishes, like St. Helena of the True Cross of Jesus, my parish in Corpus Christi, are forming in many parts of our country where the Catholic Church is thriving.
Commitment means that what we have found in Christ Jesus is true, real, and worth living out to the ultimate consequence. Commitment to the source of true happiness means that our lives will be an indictment of the falsehoods of this present age. Commitment has no room for immaturity, indecisiveness, complacency, hypocrisy, or self-indulgence. We are in dire need of committed men and women who will evangelize a difficult world by the witness of their lives.
Let us be filled with gratitude for the great gift of the Church. Hopefully, the Holy Spirit will bestow upon us a profound sense of commitment so that we will be passionate and responsible stewards of our parish family.