“To steer people to generosity…”

This past Tuesday found many of the priests of the Archdiocese gathered together for our semi-annual “Archbishop’s Day”. The purpose of such days are to share a common vision about things which are important in the Archdiocese, to build up the bonds of fraternity among the priesthood and to give the Archbishop a forum for directly addressing us as priests in our roles as servant leaders. The bulk of the day was about the new Fishers of Men initiative. (more about that in next week’s pastor’s pen.)

The Archbishop used the occasion to introduce his new pastoral letter on evangelization, to coincide with the be-ginning of the Year of Faith this Thursday, Oct. 11th. At the heart of his message to us was a simple challenge. “I want to steer people to generosity. I have been amazed by their generosity to the seminary fund, and yearly to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Now I wish to call them to live that same generosity in their spiritual lives. Every member of the faithful is called to holiness and to mission. There is more for us all ‘to be’ as people of faith. And there is more for us to share about our Savior and His love for us. Those are the themes I ask people to explore during this Year of Faith.”

We are a blessed in this archdiocese as well as in the parish with people who are so generous. I have seen that time and time again. And that gives me hope that there is a well of power and energy we can tap into this year as we strive to grow in faith and love of our Lord, and heed the call we hear at the end of Mass: “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” (Or as I most often choose: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your lives.”)

He posed a simple kind of litmus test/challenge for us all in this regard. “When we gather back at work around the water cooler or during the lunch break and talk about what we did over the weekend, how often do we speak about the Mass we attended, the homily we heard or the prayers that were answered?” We often think of evangelization as this huge effort that only the great missionaries were capable of accomplishing. The truth is far simpler. Each of us has the ability to witness in the ordinary circumstances of our lives to what God is doing in our hearts.

My challenge to you this week is to begin that process at home. Take a moment at the Sunday brunch or dinner table to share just one thought, one prayer intention, one wrestling with the scriptures, or one blessing that God showered upon you this week. You’ll be surprised. It is a lot easier than you might think…