November 8, 2020 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I.  Theology of Stewardship is about being a disciple who realizes how we have been blessed; once we realize what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, we want to give back a generous portion of the blessings we receive. You will receive Time. Talent, and Treasure renewal materials in the mail before this week vanishes. Time (how do you spend the 168 hours each week; do you make time for prayer?), Talent (everyone has some gift to share), and Treasure (it’s about the principle behind the story of the widow’s mite in Mark 12:38-44). “Your checkbook is a theological document; it tells you who and what you worship” (Billy Graham).  

    On behalf of this faith community, I ask you—every registered family—to make a commitment to our Saint Stephen Cathedral community for the 2021 calendar year. Our annual Stewardship Time, Talent, and Treasure Renewal officially begins this weekend, November 14/15, and we ask for your pledge by November 26, Thanksgiving Day. “No One Ever Becomes Poor by Giving” (Anne Frank). Again, it’s not the amount as much as the sacrifice which so many of you make. Thank you! 

II.  Foolish or Wise? Welcomed or Rejected? “According to the Book of Wisdom, Chapter 6, those who seek wisdom will not be disappointed because wisdom desires to be accessible. Wisdom is indeed needed as we seek to understand the parable of the ten bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13). That the wise, like the foolish, also fell asleep should alert us to think more carefully about the meaning of the parable. The wise in the parable are prepared, bringing both oil and lamps to await the bridegroom’s arrival.” The other five bridesmaids scurried off to buy more oil and missed the bridegroom. The ladies with oil did not share, and the bridegroom ignored the foolish maids at the door. What a contrast with the second reading from St. Paul to the Thessalonians, who tells us to “console one another.” There is no rejection—Christ himself will come for us. All-inclusive! God provides abundantly. We must be prepared, always, for we know not the hour when God will call us, but at the same time, we should always trust in God’s mercy and love. Have plenty of oil so you have enough for you and for your neighbor. (Adapted, At Home With the Word)

III. The Plan of All Plans: As Catholics, we firmly believe that God has a plan for our lives! God calls some to marriage, some to the priesthood, and others to religious life or to a generous single life. Fully living our vocations—and teaching young people how to discern God’s call—is a serious duty, but a joyful one. Last week was National Vocation Awareness Week, but in the weeks ahead and throughout the year, please pray about how God is calling you to live your vocation more deeply. Encourage the young people in your life—children, grandchildren, students, and friends—to be open if God calls them to priesthood, diaconate, or consecrated life.

IV.  Donate Life: To think of others in our hours of grief and sorrow is truly compassionate and selfless. Please consider the gift of life—organ and tissue donation. We support this gift in the spirit of love and generosity. Remember to discuss your decision about organ donation with your loved ones. Visit “Organ, eye, and tissue donation is considered an act of charity and love, and transplants are morally and ethically acceptable to the Vatican” (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, #86).

V.  Our Stained Glass Window of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917): Frances Cabrini desired to be a missionary to China like her namesake, St. Francis Xavier, but when she met with Pope Leo XIII, he asked her to go to the missionary territory of the United States to take care of Italian immigrants who were arriving in great numbers. Mother Cabrini and six other sisters arrived in New York City in 1889 to staff an orphanage. Upon her arrival, the Archbishop told her that the arrangement had fallen through and that she should return to Italy. Instead, seeing the great need, she stayed and began to establish a school in “Little Italy.” She convinced the Jesuits to sell her 450 acres along the Hudson River for an orphanage. She began teaching the children, visiting the sick, and feeding the hungry. An orphanage was built.

    In her 35 years of active service, Cabrini established over 60 institutions. She was a faithful disciple, a strong woman of faith who met the needs she saw. Her faith was contagious. Perhaps the greatest miracle in her life on earth was that of a faithful life.  Very interesting fact: our Cathedral building (1926) has a stained glass window of Frances Cabrini; it was installed in 1941; however, she was not canonized until 1946!  Someone had great confidence that Mother Cabrini would be canonized! I invite you to celebrate her selfless, generous, caring life on Friday, November 13, at the 7:00am or 12:05pm Mass.