Joining the Party and Stewardship

Gate Pa – Year A 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time,

Psalm                          Psalm 78:1-7                                                                          
First Reading:                         Joshua 24:1-3, 14-25              
Second Reading:        1 John 4:13-18                        
Gospel:                        Matthew 25:1-13                               

What I want to say:
Offer a critique of the implied message of the Gospel reading – that we need to be prepared to get into the party, or we are out!
Instead I want to offer a reflection on why I am Franciscan, and the importance of the annual report – reflecting on how I respond to God’s infinite love -> including community commitment, ministry, and money

What I want to happen:
People to reflect on their response to God

The Sermon

       1.     Introduction:

I was having a conversation about being a Franciscan and our rule of life
felt to them like a whole lot of hoops that one had to go through to earn something
kind of like this morning’s gospel reading can often be read
we need to be prepared to get into the party – the party being heaven
this person found all that very difficult
ð more about that in a moment
For me at least
all comes back to “Who is God for us?”
this person described God as “exciting, creative, loving, supportive and joyful. God is the One who draws me close.”
where does a rule of life with things like simplicity, self-denial, obedience, chastity fit with that?

       2.     My response

Agree with her description
went on to say that God is the one who loves me no matter what I do. I am beloved. That is the ground of my being.
My life is lived in response to this love…
My truest response to this love is in the way of Francis and Clare
-          my rule of life is my response to this love.
-         putting it into today’s gospel reading
o   having enough oil so that I respond well love offered
o   really what that story is about
-         There is no “should” involved.
-         There is invitation.
-         I am free to go another way.
-         I am still loved.
ð But for me any other way is not who I am.
ð I live in this love and out of this love and for this love in the way of simplicity, self-denial, chastity and obedience – however we understand that.

       3.     Reporting

One of the things that bugged this person was our annual reporting
annually we reflect and report on how we are keeping our rule
It is a time to intentionally notice our response to God
It is too easy to drift
again it is not about what we should do
-          although some people do treat it like that
but taking the time to reflect on God’s invitation in our lives
and how we respond
-         are we living our rule?
-         does our rule need to change?
not just something we Franciscans should do
something we should all take the time to do
what Lent and Advent are about really
this morning I invite you to take the time to reflect on
who is God for you?
what is invitation of God in your life?
how do you respond to that invitation?
-         time we offer community of St. Georges
-         time we offer mission of God
-         resources we offer in terms of money

ð invite you take some time now and days ahead to reflect on these questions:
You are invited to reflect on your life in response to God.
      the time you give to St. George's and God’s mission
      the level, regularity and method of your giving to St. George's?
      the possibility of a bequest for the future benefit of St George’s?


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