by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann
For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. — Mt 25:29
This is the memorable statement from this Sunday’s Gospel about the Parable of the Talents. The bottom line is that when given blessings and gifts, it is wise to invest them so that they may multiply and provide more blessings and gifts to be given to others. It is not wise to bury your talents so that, selfishly, you may preserve them only for yourself. Such selfishness will not be rewarded. In this second of three years of Eucharistic Amazement, we seek to revive our understanding and appreciation for the gift we receive from our Creator and Savior each time we receive him at Holy Mass. After all, it is almost incomprehensible that “whoever eats this bread will live forever” Jn 6:51. Can there be a more precious gift?
Table of plenty
Imagery of banquets abound in the Holy Scriptures, and, while they create vivid pictures of plentitude and rich fare, they are a pale imitation of the heavenly banquet. The Eucharistic table is simple, representing the Passover meal of unleavened bread eaten by the Israelites as they traveled to the Promised Land and were unable to take time for the bread to rise. Time and again, God provided nourishment to his people. Sometimes it was a lavish wedding banquet, or manna in the desert, or a few loaves and fish which miraculously fed thousands. The Eucharist, instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper during the Passover, is a visible sign of Christ’s real presence in our lives and transmits God’s grace to us so that we can fulfill His commandments. We can receive this gift from God daily. This is truly amazing!
Our time here on earth is meant for us to do good, to seek truth, and to create and appreciate all of the beauty of God’s creation. Our world, with its brokenness and sinfulness, is a challenging environment for our quest for goodness, truth and beauty. This is why we need to draw ever closer to our Father through his Son and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Daily, we are given the gift of Holy Mass and the source and summit of our faith, the Eucharist. The Eucharist is an outpouring of God’s love for us and a gift of his grace which strengthens us in our quest. It is awesome. It is powerful. It is humbling. We are so fortunate to live in America, where most of us can attend daily Mass without a great deal of effort. Accessibility is another gift. However, easy availability can dim our appreciation of the sacrificial gift Jesus gives to us. In certain parts of the world, priests and churches are scarce, transportation is difficult and war makes worship dangerous, so that reception of the Eucharist is unpredictable and is a true event in people’s lives.
What are you thinking as you process down the aisle at church to receive Communion? What if you saw, at the end of the aisle, Jesus Christ waiting for you? Would you run to Him and greet Him with a huge hug? Would you drop to your knees in reverence and worship? Would you crawl to Him on your hands and knees in repentance? Your reaction would be particular to you based on your relationship with Him.
Gifts and blessings abound
God is amazingly generous in his gifts to his children, and he cannot be outdone in generosity. We know that those to whom much is given, much is expected. It is with this truth that the Archdiocese seeks to use the gifts given so generously by you to further God’s work in our world. Your gifts support over 40 ministries through the Archbishop’s Call to Share. Without your gifts, we could not support Catholic campus centers at universities and colleges where the secular world often pulls our youth away from the truth, beauty and goodness of our faith. Our ministries truly support life from “womb to tomb,” which is so important and increasingly countercultural. Your gifts to your parish and to the Archdiocese are a lifeline to those in need, whether it be temporary housing, rental assistance, food, clothing, education, adult faith formation, walking with moms in need, skilled nursing care, or a friendly visitor to the homebound.
The financial report you see here goes into a great deal of detail in an effort to show how the sacrificial gifts given to the Archdiocese are used to fulfill God’s commandments to love him and to love our neighbor. We seek to generate a modest positive bottom line to allow us to use those funds to maintain and repair our buildings.
The more generous we are as individuals, as parishes and as an Archdiocese, the more our gifts will multiply and please the Lord. I continue to be edified and inspired by the generosity of the parishioners of the Archdiocese. Your support of our parishes, schools, Catholic Charities, the Catholic Education Foundation, Archbishop’s Call to Share and so many other ministries reflect the depth of your faith in Jesus Christ and his bride, the church.
My commitment to you is to continue to strive to be a better shepherd and servant leader for the people of God. I also renew my pledge to be transparent in reporting to you how your sacrificial gifts are being used to build up God’s Kingdom in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. Together, we can bring the sweetness of the Gospel of Jesus to northeast Kansas!
Gratefully yours in Jesus, the Lord of Life,
Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann