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June 6, 1997     The Message
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June 6, 1997

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19W The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana ii!i' 'i,/ op's Forum m of Latin in the when the language) became ally Mass. The Liturgy of the Word) read first in Latin ia English. The Liturgy of (from the Offertory to not only was in the presider faced the COmmunity throughout rites. With a common lan- encour- lly. some of the mys- now exposed language and colored by the 'of the presider -- has been lost. Lan- Personalities of presiders vary. What to our faith has not nor will change. The t of thanksgiving of Jesus -- the is the same. Feast of Corpus Christi -- the Body gives us pause to consider this most mystery of our faith. Indeed, the L.0fthe Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy is not only essential to our faith, it is eternal life. It is called the "pledge of I received a note from a thirteen-year- Mass in Cologne, Germany. He and I on e-mail for almost a Corpus Christi By BISHOP GERALD A. GETTELFINGER year. This young person expresses his faith-filled concern in a ques- tion. I wish to share it with you. " Unfortunately, at least in Mid- dle Europe most Catholics are not in touch with Christ and the church though they are members of it. Is it good that the church gives the sacraments also to these people mentioned above, and has so many only extensive (nominal) Chris- tians? I don't think so." In my response to him I suggest- ed that only Jesus, the one who welcomed the leper, the blind man, the tax collector, will make the ulti- mate judgment about the worthiness of those who approach the sacrament. Lest there be a misunderstanding I expect those who approach the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus, Holy Communion, to be in the proper dis- position to receive. "Receiving Holy Communion" should never be either a show of elitism or a demonstration of defiance for it is indeed a public act for the community to witness. Nor should it be a casual expression of faith. Those who have separat- ed themselves from the community are responsible for abstaining from approaching the sacrament. It is not the ministers' responsibility to make that judgment. It is my conviction that Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament is the one who will judge the worthiness of the recipient and will hold accountable those who are ministers. All must be attentive. The role of Eucharistic Minister supersedes all other parish ministries. It compares to none other. Good will is not enough. Exemplar), life in faith is essential for one to be worthy and to have the pub- lic acceptance of the community of believers. Nei- ther personal scandal nor perceptions of such have a place in such a trusted minister. Let us not be careless or unconscious of what we are about when speaking of this Most Blessed of all Sacraments. As believers, be not Casual about what one does when approaching Holy Communion either as minister or recipient. Speak not of "minis- ters of the bread and cup." They are ministers of the Body and Blood of the Lord. These sacred mys- teries are essential to our faith. Each of us must be willing to challenge the ministers and recipients of the Body and Blood of our Lord as to their worthi- ness. By the same token, when anyone approaches this Most Blessed Sacrament, that same person must assume full responsibility for that action. God will be their judge. We must never be so arrogant as to assume that role. It is my constant prayer no one would ever dishonor this Most Sacred Sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord. To conclude this forum, I urge individuals and families to make spontaneous visits to this Most Blessed Sacrament, especially in your parish church. I guarantee that Jesus will bless your effort in ways you would never imagine! 5 Tell us how much you need, Father Stewardship a Stewardship A conver- and even 4 was would lifted and the reforms. sanctions point to lterna- grew ever artheid sys- in the early Africa boycott a similar and COmpanies re, saying against black by minor- say though Korea, for ' uch worse demands change. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we need occasion- ally to examine our lives to see what we need to change to become even better stewards of God's gifts. The same applies to a parish on its journey toward Total Stew- ardship. Organizational and atti- tudinal changes will be necessary as parishes embrace a steward- ship way of life. There will be some trial and error. Progress will sometimes resemble the speed of a tractor pull. At the outset, and at various points along the way, it's important to take stock of the condition of parish stewardship so we can measure progress and adjust course as needed. Some questions to ask at parish stewardship conversion benchmarks include: What are our strengths and weaknesses? What obstacles must we (still) overcome? What changes are nec- essary to move us toward a stew- shape than before economic embargoes were imposed -- North Korea is said to be on the verge of mass famine -- their political systems have not changed despite decades of sanc- tions. Cardinal Law, after an April visit to Cuba, said the United States should consider dropping its economic embargo against Cuba. Those barriers slow eco- nomic development in Cuba, he argued, and "it certainly con- tributes to the impression with- in Cuba that the U.S. govern- ment is the enemy. No good, long-term policy is served by this ." If sanctioned nations are cut off from the world's oldest, most prosperous democracy, where do they turn? Peter W. Rodman, director of national security programs at the Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom, said in a May 29 essay ardship way of life? And, the most rudimentary question of all: What does Jesus expect? Let's consider for a moment one of the biggest impediments to stewardship conversion most parishes will probably encounter. One of our pastors recently named it the "Pay-the-Bills Men- tality." Pay-the-bills thinking works like this: when the collec- tion basket is passed on Saturday or Sunday, a pay-the-bi!ls parish- loner (PTB) tosses in a check or cash -- loose or inside a contri- bution envelope -- the amount of which is often determined by how the PTB feels that day. PTB's give out of a sense of duty or obliga- tion. They are most likely to say: "Tell me how much you need, Father, and I'll decide how much I want to give." To be sure, many PTB's are, from time to time, quite generous, but only when they are convinced of a specific need for their contri- f in The Washington Post that Burma is turning to China. Burma gets financial assis- tance from the link, and China may angle for naval access to the Bay of Bengal and the Indi- an Ocean, "a quantum leap in China's strategic position in Asia," Rodman said. Pope John Paul and other Vatican officials have decried the use of economic sanctions, saying they don't hurt the tar- geted government as much as they hurt their people. The U.S.-led United Nations economic embargo against Iraq -- a nation with a significant minority of Chaldean Catholics -- has come under particular scrutiny over the years by the pope. In his annual address to diplomats in 1994, he suggested that the embargo e periodical- ly reviewed to avoid harmful side effects on the population." bution and are asked to give. always looking for opportunities They rarely if ever give just for to give more. They accept respon- the joy of giving. Tithing or pro- sibility for the gifts God has portional giving are not even a placed in their care. consideration. Whose approach to giving is How do PTB  ardship Proportional Givers (SPG's) in a Total Stewardship Parish? SPG's begin with the fun- damental stewardship premise that God is the source of every- thing. We own nothing. Rather, God places His possessions in our care as His stewards and expects us to handle them responsibly. In gratitude for God's gifts and His trust, SPG's joyfully return a por- tion of God's blessings through their own gifts of time, talent and treasure. Regarding stewardship of trea- sure: SPG's do not care how much money their parishes have in the bank or "how much Father needs" for particular projects. Their giving of time, talent and treasure is motivated by grati- tude. They are typically full tithers or proportional givers: they decide how much to con- tribute by first determining their gross annual income and then deciding on a fixed percentage to give back to God. SPG's don't have to be asked to give; they are method is right? The answer is that both are quite meritorious. The basic stewardship ques- tion, however, is: What is expect- ed of me as a disciple of Jesus Christ? A parishioner recently dis- closed that he and his wife, already SPG's, were discussing what sacrifices they would have to make to move toward a full 10 percent tithe. "But,  he said, "it's very difficult for me to con- sider tithing when I know that my pastor does not tithe. When I shared my feelings about this with him he said, rather indig- nantly: 'You expect me to tithe on my salary?' I glanced out the window at his new car, looked around his very. comfortable and expensively decorated rector; noticed the airline ticket for a trip to Europe on his desk and said, 'Father, I don't think it's about what I expect  isn't it about what Jesus expects?" What do you think He expects of you? To weave a web Above my head in the garage, a spider was weaving a web. As I paused to watch, the spider swung down once, twice, then numerous times, before contact- Commentary By MSGR. CLINTON HIRSCH I H i ing an object on the wall to anchor the web. And so, the tedious task of web-weaving was well underway. I suppose spiders are not aware that we are living in an n.nstant age"  instant replay, instant cof- fee, instant everythLng. Apparently not, as this spider kept trying  a slow process and finally succeeded. Perhaps our lives are entan- gled in the "instant web" wanting instant success, even instant holiness. It could hap- pen, but usually not, as that comes about by constant coop- eration with the grace of God. Patience lathe word. We are told "in patience you will possess your soul." The spider in the garage experienced failing efforts, but finally, success. So we need to keep trying to weave the web of our lives .......