My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We begin our Advent journey! Four weeks to prepare for the coming of our Lord and Savior. Yes, we look back on the historical moment when Jesus was born into our world some two thousand years ago; plus, we look ahead to His Second Coming at the end of time. We are called to prepare the way of the Lord. What will we do? Consider the following tale.
There is a story of an Irishman who died suddenly and went up for divine judgment, feeling extremely uneasy. He didn’t think he had done much good on earth! There was a queue ahead of him, so he settled down to look and listen. After consulting His big book, Christ said to the first man in the queue: ‘I see here that I was hungry and you gave Me to eat. Good man! Go on into heaven.’ To the second He said: ‘I was thirsty and you gave Me to drink,’ and to the third: ‘I was in prison and you visited Me.’ And so it went on. As each man ahead of him was sent to heaven the Irishman examined his conscience and felt he had a great deal to fear. He’d never given anyone food or drink, he hadn’t visited prisoners or the sick. Then his turn came. Trembling he watched Christ examine the book. Then Christ looked up and said: ‘Well there’s not much written here, but you did do something: I was sad and discouraged and depressed: you came and told Me funny stories, made Me laugh and cheered Me up. Get along to heaven!’
What will we do? The bottom line is that no gift will be neglected or undervalued. Each of us will be called to give an accounting of our offering. I encourage you to take time as an individual and as a family to reflect upon and act upon the stewardship you are called to give. Worried? If so, then remember that you are not alone in this task. Our parish presents many opportunities for prayer, study, service and charity. Check out the bulletin and the website. Talk with a fellow parishioner or staff member. Do some research, and then make a choice. Consider just a few charitable possibilities:
1) Once again this Christmas we will help needy families in our community. There are always families that come to the parish seeking Christmas gifts for their children. Our local social service programs are not able to help everyone that comes to their doors. Last year we helped nineteen such “forgotten” children. I expect more inquiries this year. I have found that the best gift to offer in these situations is a Target gift card. Your offering will be funneled through our Emergency Assistance Program.
2) Do not forget the Church of St. Edward this holiday season. Yes, we are all inundated with requests this giving season; and yet, please do remember our parish. Our ministries need your support. The needs are ever-increasing. Can we respond? This year we have made some significant improvements to our program (e.g., the hiring of new staff members) with the expectation that our giving will support these additions. Please do your part to support the many wonderful ministries of our parish.
3) Finally, a reminder to include the Church of St. Edward in your estate planning. As you create or update your wills and trusts, do remember our Church. No gift is too large, no gift is too small. Together we will ensure the future of this great parish.