January 22, 2017
There is a natural development in the readings for the early part of the Church’s Year. After recalling the events of the birth and childhood of Jesus, we begin Ordinary Time with the baptism of Jesus and then proceed to the call of the disciples. Today, on the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear from Saint Matthew about the call of two pairs of brothers, first Simon Peter and Andrew and then James and John; and the reading is truly a Gospel - that is, Good News - because we, too, have been chosen as disciples of Jesus and given the power to be his collaborators in the work of bringing God’s love to the world. Every Christian is called and chosen, and this weekend our Ministry Fair invites the people of Nativity to respond generously to that call.
Serving the community or “ministry” is an aspect of stewardship - that word which comes up each year when we are encouraged to increase our financial support of the parish. True stewardship means much more than increasing the weekly offertory collection. It lies at the heart of Christian life, starting with the recognition that all we have and are comes from God. In gratitude we receive God’s gifts, we cultivate them and share them with others; in this way we return them to our Lord and Master with increase. We have different talents, but Saint Paul says it should be characteristic of all Christians “to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share” (1 Timothy 6: 18).
Today is an information day, an opportunity to come over to the Parish Center after Mass and find out what is involved in the various ministries. Next week you will find cards in your pews inviting you to make a definite commitment to service of some kind. You will see then that we have divided the ministries into four categories:
Liturgical Ministries: contributing to the dignity and beauty of worship.
Faith Formation: growing in our own faith and helping others, especially children.
Outreach Ministries: reaching out to the community by helping those in need..
Organizations: these involve all kinds of ministry but they tend to work as a group, supporting each other.
We have different personalities and may be more suited to one ministry rather than another, but we should realize that God gives all of us abilities and skills and He wants us to put them to use. The parish can only function with the help of volunteers although it would be wrong to think of this entirely in terms of sacrifice: it is the experience of those who do give of their time and talents that they receive a great deal from their ministry as well. This weekend use the Ministry Fair to discover more about the ministries available - nearly thirty of them; then go home and think about how you could use your gifts; finally come back next week ready to sign up and so begin to “love and serve the Lord” by becoming involved.