Members of a parish belong to a Holy Body and Heavenly Family.

In the human body, all organs are organically and integrally connected.  When the parts of the body: heart, brain, liver, feet, skin, etc. work in harmony, fulfilling their created purpose, it experiences health.  When one part does not work in harmony with the entire body, it experiences illness.  In the body, also, there are inferior parts, such as the hands, and greater parts, such as the head; nevertheless, all organs have a function to perform for the greater good of the body as a whole.

Looking to the human body, Saint Paul, makes an analogous argument regarding the corporate Body of the Church.  To the Church of Rome, Saint Paul teaches: “For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts; in his exhortations; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:3).

Every baptized person belongs organically and integrally to the Body of Christ, members of one another.  When every member of the body works in harmony with the whole of the body, the Body of Christ is healthy.  When members of the Body of Christ work against each other, the Body of Christ experiences illness.  The Body of Christ has also inferior and greater parts each with his or her own gifts.  God, the source of every good gift (James 1:17-18), bestows them not so much for personal use and gain.  Rather, he blesses each baptized person with gifts toward the edification of the whole Body.[1]

In his letter to the Church of Ephesus, Saint Paul teaches: “And [God’s] gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones (hagios) for the work of ministry (diakonias), for building up[2] the Body of Christ” (Eph 4:11-12).

Addressing the variety of God-given gifts and the common good of the Church, to the Corinthians the Apostle Paul teaches: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  To one given through the Spirit of utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy. To another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues” (1 Cor 12:4-10).

Indeed, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” It is another way of expressing a truth that God bestows gifts upon His people in order to edify the whole Body rather than to serve a person’s individual fancy or personal gain.

Each and every member of a parish, young and old, therefore have a moral responsibility, guided by the law of selfless love, to use his or her gifts and talents in service toward the edification of the Body of Christ.  This practice is called rightly stewardship.

A steward is a guardian or caretaker of what has been given to him or her in order to share it with others generously and responsibly.[3]  The steward is not the owner or master.  Rather the steward is accountable to someone else.[4]  God is the master and bestower of all gifts[5].  The human person is the steward.    In parish life, it is called the spirituality of stewardship or the life of selfless giving.

In fact, being created in the image of God and recreated in His Divine likeness, similar to God we are called to be selfless and generous stewards of our time, talent and treasure (called the three “Ts”).  Jesus the Christ commanded: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Mt 10:8); and the Apostle Paul teaches: “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7).  Such is the Law of charity.

Looking to the five characteristics of the life of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles[6], parish life stands upon a Tripod: Liturgy (Eucharist and other communal prayers), Faith Formation (devotion to the teachings of the Apostles) and a Communal Life (sharing in fellowship and works of charity).

In the midst of the busyness characteristic of a modern soul in American society, many groups compete for your personal time, talent and treasure.  My brothers and sisters, do not forget that God and His Church should take priority.  Selfless love impels those with a lived-faith to take the heroic act and prioritize one’s heavenly family before and above every worldly endeavor.

Soon each household and every member of the parish will be asked to renew his or her stewardship of time, talent and treasure for the calendar year 2023.  Please give prayerful consideration on how you will be able to fulfill one of the ministries or apostolates of the Outreach, by the sacrificial offering of your gift of time, talent and treasure toward the edification the Body of Christ.

[1] In his own letter to the Church of Corinth, Saint Clement address the Church as the unity of the Body.  The Bishop of Rome writes: “The great cannot exist without the small, nor the small without the great.  There is a certain blending in everything, and therein lies the advantage.  Let us take our body as an example.  The head without the feet is nothing; likewise, the feet without the head are nothing.  Even the smallest parts of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body, yet all members work together and unit in mutual subjection, that the whole body may be saved” (The Letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, 37:4).  The Letter was written around A.D. 95, and is probably the oldest Christian writing outside of the New Testament.

[2] Saint Paul uses the Greek word oikodome meaning in English: edification, the act of one who promotes another’s growth in Christian wisdom, piety, holiness.  This term is used specifically in relation to the Body of Christ rather than a physical building. See Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 440.

[3] Our English word steward comes from the Greek word oikonomos, and literally means “house manager.” Oikonomia, or stewardship, literally refers to the management of a household. Stewardship is a task, a responsibility bestowed on one person by another – usually by a master. Our Lord used the terms steward and servant frequently, as recorded in the Gospels. St. Paul uses them the same way in his epistles. In I Peter, every Christian is charged to “be a good steward of God’s grace” (I Peter 4:10).  St. Ignatius of Antioch told the faithful that they were “stewards in God’s house, members of His household, and His servants” (Epistle to Polycarp, 99).  He holds these three aspects of our way of life in dynamic tension: being stewards, being members of God’s household, and being servants. See

[4] Two notable parables on the responsibilities of a good steward, read: Mt 25:14-30; and, Lk 12:42-48.

[5] See James 1:17; Read also Saint Job who eloquently and poetically states: “naked I came from the womb and naked I return”(Job 1:21).  In other words, we came into this world with nothing, and we shall depart this world with nothing because we own nothing.

[6] See Acts chapter 2 or read the last part of the second essay