Dear Parishioners, friends & visitors,
The thought and fear of death can be daunting. I can affirm this with some degree of certainty given the number of end-of-life calls I have attended to in over a decade of pastoral ministry. However, what have been discovered to be scarier and more haunting in the hour of death are regrets of time lost, and talents unused. My experience and encounter with the dying have enkindled my admiration for this prayer of Saint Joseph the Patron Saint of workers: “O Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labour, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations; to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honour to employ and develop by means of labour the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, never shrinking from weariness and trials; to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, keeping unceasingly before my eyes death and the account that I must give of time lost, talents unused, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God.” Most nights before I retire for the day, when I review my day, I do ask myself about time wasted or time used well, about how well I used my God given talents or how badly I employed them, and the good done or the good undone. We are not on this earth by chance or on our own. There is a reason and purpose for every human life. Not to realise the reason and purpose for our life is to miss that basic concept, which underpins everything we do. The late Bahamian evangelist, author and motivational speaker, Dr Myles Munroe once said; “the greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” Whether we realise it or not, we were all given the life we have today as a gift. Human life is not just any sort of gift but a fundamental gift upon which other gifts are built. We are all made for more. The gifts, we have been given, are given to be shared as stewards. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). How we live and what we do with the gifts we have matter. Given the uncertainty of death, we do not need to wait until the hour of death before we take stock and make sure we are living as stewards of God’s gifts. As stewards of the gifts, resources, abilities and opportunities that God has entrusted to our care, a day will come when each of us will give an account of how we lived and managed the gifts God has given to us. The first part of the gospel of this weekend is about stewardship and accountability. In this gospel pericope, Luke the Evangelist wrote: “Then he also said to his disciples, ‘A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently,” (Luke 16:1-8). While the steward might have appeared to act smartly, he was caught unaware. He didn’t see the summons to give account of his stewardship coming.
He was a rascal, who lived a life of embezzlement with no accountability to anything or anybody. Maybe he would have prepared for the audit of his stewardship if he knew from the get-go that he was a steward and caretaker of someone’s gifts. In our nation today, there is a wide range of efforts by some human beings, to ensure that the rise of secularity leads to abandonment of traditional beliefs in God. These people are doing everything possible to hypothetically kill God. This is why as Greg Sheridan once put it, ‘Christianity today appears to be under siege. We are on the verge of becoming an anti-Christian nation.’ The new champions of the death of God movement are doing everything possible to remove and eradicate God and the foundational Christian principles upon which our nation was built and founded from our collective and private consciousness. In the midst of all the anti-God movements, one cannot but wonder what we stand to gain in our dominant flight from God and the ideals of God. Do we think we would become freer to live life with no consequences-probably not. We are stewards of God’s gifts and to God we will give account of our stewardship at the end of this mortal life. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, wrote: “every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given to you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.” The world is not the creation of human beings. We are at the service of God’s creation. The world and all there are in the world are not the creations of humans. The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. “The world and all its people belong to him,” (Psalm 24:1). Let’s live and walk humbly as stewards and caretakers of God’s countless gifts.
God bless you all.
Fr. John Ikechukwu Echewodo
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS 2016
All events and holy mass will be held at the St. Mary’s Worship Center, Upper Coomera
Saturday, 24th December (CHRISTMAS EVE)
4.30pm – Carol Singing | 5:00 – Holy Mass
9.30pm – Carol Singing | 10:00 pm – Holy Mass
Sunday 25th December 2016 (CHRISTMAS DAY)
7.30am Holy Mass
9.30am Holy Mass
Saturday, 31st December (NEW YEAR’S EVE)
6pm – Holy Mass
Sunday 1st January 2017 (NEW YEAR’S DAY)
7.30am Mass | 9am Mass | 5pm Mass
SAINT MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH
Ash Wednesday – Mass at 7pm
Stations of the Cross – Every Friday at 7pm
Mass Times :
(NO 5 PM EVENING MASS ON EASTER SUDAY)