When I first moved to NYC 9 years ago, I often babysat and dog-sat for families to make money. There was always a sense of heightened attention and care for the kiddos and animals I watched, and a sense of knowing how precious they were to their parents (and/or owners). Can you remember a time when something valuable to someone else has been placed in your care? There is a sense of honor knowing someone has entrusted you to take care of and look after someone or something so valuable to him or herself.
The God of all creation has entrusted you, and every baptized and then confirmed son and daughter, with His most precious mysteries. A relationship with His Son, the good news of the Gospel, the sacraments of the Church, the richness of His Word in Scripture – these are just some of the many gifts God has given all of us to be stewards of. Paul says in today’s first reading that we are “stewards of the mysteries of God” (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:1). What an honor. Further, God invites each of us individually to be stewards of the gifts He has given us that are unique to our individual life. He has given each of us specific gifts, or charisms, for the building up of the Kingdom – gifts to serve and nourish the church and the world. For some it is a gift of administration, of teaching, of service, of music, just to name of few. For those of us who are married, God has gifted us a spouse to be a steward of – to reverence, to look after, to care for, to help get to Heaven. Our priests are stewards of their parishes, our consecrated religious brothers and sisters are stewards of the others in their communities and the people they serve. Though we may currently feel limited, unable to share our gifts in some of the ways we’d like to, we can always grow in our posture of wonder and awe in God’s presence. And from that posture we can ask Him to remind us, or show us anew, the gifts He has placed in our individual lives to be stewards of.
As a Byzantine Catholic family, my husband, daughter, and I have just begun the new liturgical year on September 1st! (In the Latin Rite, often called the Roman Rite, the new year begins on the first Sunday of Advent. This is just one of many differences in tradition that distinguishes these two rites of the Catholic Church, both beautiful and rich in their own right…or rite…) Growing up Latin Rite, I just learned about the September 1st new year last Sunday from our priest, Fr. Michael. (Also shout out to Fr. Michael, who inspired the vast majority of this reflection with his recent Sunday homily!) This reality and Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel have me reflecting on the gift of renewal. There is an innate sense of refreshment and of hope in a new year. A chance to begin again, an opportunity to refocus, a time to hope for the future. As Christians, we live in relationship with the One who renews us day to day, even moment to moment.
As we ask God to reveal how He is calling each of us to be a steward of His mysteries, let us open ourselves up to something new He wants to do in us. He is the God who makes all things new, and He promises to constantly renew us from the inside out. He is “making new wine…” (see today’s Gospel + song link below). If the circumstances of COVID have made you feel that one day blurs into the next, and months blur into each other, we can find our renewal and hope in our incredible God. He has entrusted Himself to us, and we have entrusted ourselves to Him. He is the greatest steward of all – He is our Good Shepherd. You are precious to Him, and He delights in you. May you grow ever more deeply in this reality and be consumed by His great Mystery.
Lord God, Almighty Father, I come into your presence in awe of you. I desire to know you more and stand in wonder of the depths of you I cannot grasp. Thank you for entrusting me to be a steward of your mysteries. Reveal the gifts you have given me and help me to be a faithful steward of them. Lord, renew me. Purify my heart so I may see you. I place my trust in you. I place my hope in you. I adore and love you, my dear Father.
Song for Reflection — NEW WINE by Hillsong
More info on the Liturgical Year according to Byzantine Tradition: https://www.archpitt.org/the-liturgical-year-according-to-the-byzantine-tradition/