Today’s Second Reading, from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, picks up where we left off last week and continues with a similar theme. The message is that we are each unique in the gifts and talents God has given to us, and therefore, we all have different tasks to fulfill as members of the Body of Christ.
What is further developed this week is the truth that, though different in our roles, every single individual is equally important and needed in the Church, from the freshly baptized newborn to the teenager sitting reluctantly by his parents, to the elderly shut-in who can no longer attend Sunday Mass. “God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. If they were all one part, where would the body be? But as it is there are many parts, yet one body.”
What does this teach us as Christian stewards? It shows us that we all have equal dignity and worth in God’s sight, and that if God sees us as equally precious, we should view each other in this same light. It teaches us to humbly recognize our own gifts as well as the giftedness of every member of our parish family. And, while God designed us to be ultimately dependent on Him, it seems He has also designed us to need each other! This is part of the beauty and richness of a stewardship way of life. No one person can “do it all” in life — whether in family life or parish life. But God does not ask us to do it all. He simply asks us to share the gifts and talents we do have in the season of life we find ourselves right now.
And just what are we, as Christian stewards, aiming to achieve by sharing our gifts and talents? We are aiming to follow in the footsteps of our Lord, furthering with His grace the mission He began 2,000 years ago. He declares in the Gospel reading from St. Luke today what this mission is: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free….”
What a noble purpose! What great dignity has been bestowed upon us, modern-day disciples, that we are called to this same task.
In the week ahead, let’s take this mission to heart, examining the way we can use our gifts and talents for this mission and asking ourselves what it looks like in our unique circumstances to “bring glad tidings to the poor,” “liberty to captives,” “sight to the blind” and “freedom to the oppressed.”
It might feel uncomfortable at first. But the good news it you don’t have to do it all. Do your part, let your brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ do theirs, and know that the Spirit of the Lord is upon us all as we live out this stewardship way of life.