WITH WHAT HAVE WE BEEN ENTRUSTED?
By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB
In today’s Gospel, we hear of a steward who betrayed the trust of his Master, but acted quickly and prudently to regain his trust. Undoubtedly, the listener is surprised that the steward’s cleaver action earned the praise of the Master, despite the dishonesty that should have brought punishment.
Among other lessons, the parable is meant to leave us questioning our own lives: how we can be (at least at times) lazy or apathetic concerning spiritual affairs, and yet assertive and ambitious concerning the affairs of work and the world?
Such a question is not just an individual one, but also pertains to the institutions, such as the Catholic Church, and more specifically, St. Basil’s Parish.
This weekend, I have asked the Parish to begin a discussion around stewardship – that is how we use the gifts we have been given. Such a discussion begins with the recognition that we have a great many treasures at St. Basil’s. We are blessed with a beautiful church in the heart of a bustling part of the city. We are doubly blessed because of our location on a University campus, which provides a well-spring of new life and talents as well as a tradition of Catholic education and that of the Basilian Fathers.
However, it is you, the parishioners, who make St. Basil’s the witness of hope, joy and mercy that it is. Many of you carefully consider your talents, time and monies and have chosen St. Basil’s as a recipient of those. For this I am very grateful.
But times are also changing. I am now the only full-time priest assigned to St. Basil’s (Fr. Ken is moving to part-time) and I need help with the administration of the parish if I am to be attentive to the spiritual needs of the parish. These needs include the particular needs of the next generation of Catholics who attend the University, as well as the many needs of the different generations who call St. Basil’s their parish.
Many people worry because they feel there are not enough priests to meet the many needs of the people, but that is not my concern. God has given us all we need – we only need to learn how to use what we have differently. The real threat to any church is a lack of weekly contributions, which form the basis of an operating budget. If the contributions are good, then we will have the means to adapt to the changing circumstances of our time. We can create facilities and staffs that allow the priests and ministers to focus on what they are trained for – meeting the spiritual needs of you and your family.
This Sunday, I ask hope you will begin discussions about the blessings you have received and how you will pass those blessings on to others. As you consider what is important to you in your own life, I hope that you will hold up your own budget to the priorities you value as a family. Know that I am doing the same with the parish budget – asking that we put money into the areas that are really important to us.