Column: Stewardship has its beginning in baptism

Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

by Lesle Knop

Big brother Sam wanted to kiss the face of Jesus on the bas-relief of “The Last Supper” below the altar. So up he trotted up and kneeled before Jesus and “his buddies.”

The sight of a two-year-old kneeling before Jesus isn’t something I see every day. It sure did warm my heart.

Sam’s baby sister, Mary Frances Dixon, was being baptized. The event was a happy occasion for the parents, Mike and Jeanne-Marie Dixon, the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The ceremony was Father Keith Lunsford’s last baptism at Holy Trinity Parish in Paola. He moved later the following week to his new parish at St. Ann in Prairie Village.

We were happy to be with the Dixon family as we heard Father Keith’s last homily at Holy Trinity that spoke to our roles as parents and as children of God.

Father Keith gathered little Sam and his big brother Noah before him and asked if they had chores at home.

Noah said, “I pick up my toys.”

Father Keith asked, “Do you do the laundry?”

“No, Mommy does,” Noah answered.

“Do you do the cooking?” Father asked.

“Daddy makes pizza,” Noah said.

The adults laughed.

Then Father Keith reminded the boys that, as children, they can’t do everything and must depend on their parents. He then reminded the adults that, as children of God, we depend on our Father in heaven to take care of us. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we turn to each other as the family of God.

As stewards of God’s many gifts to us, we often think that we are in charge and that we can control the outcome of our daily challenges by ourselves, without the grace and goodness of our Lord.

Stewardship is an expression of discipleship with the power to change how we understand and live out our baptismal call. In the U.S. bishops’ pastoral letter on Christian stewardship, the bishops teach that stewardship involves embracing a Christ-centered way of living, which has its beginning in the sacrament of baptism. This biblically commissioned sacrament is the foundation of our call to be good stewards and to proclaim by word and deed the good news of Jesus Christ.

The International Catholic Stewardship Council will convene its 2009 gathering in Dallas on Oct. 11-14. Its theme is: Living our pastoral call through stewardship. Anyone interested in attending should visit the ICSC Web site at: www.catholicstewardship.org.

No matter how strong we think we are, we often need a gentle reminder now and then, as Father Keith did so sweetly at little Fran’s baptism, that we are God’s children. Stewardship helps us live our lives as our Father in heaven wants us to live.

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