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“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1) God calls all of us to leave behind our old ways and to follow Him, placing our complete trust in Him. Some of the old ways that we may have to struggle to leave behind might be materialism, selfishness, and greed. Yet God promises to show us a new land and a better way to live. Remember what St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “God does not call us to be successful, God calls us to be faithful.”

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“It is written: The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” (Matthew 4:10) Tempted between the riches and power of this world and service to God, Jesus chose service to His Father. If we wish to truly follow Jesus, we, too, must decide to turn away from worldly power and riches and put God at the center of our lives. Lent is our time to prune ourselves of earthly things. Ask God how he is calling you to serve.

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“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” (Matthew 5:44) Love your enemies, easier said than done, no doubt. But, remember, the foundation of stewardship is prayer. When we are in close communication with God, it opens our heart and it turns our attention away from “me” and moves it towards God and others. It allows us to have a little more empathy for “our enemy.” When we pray for others, even “our enemies,” maybe it softens their hearts as well.

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“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again.” (John 4:13) Jesus reminds us that material things, even something as basic as water, can never satisfy us for long. When we build our lives around material possessions, we always want more. True Joy and Peace only comes when we follow Jesus; when we become more “God-centered” and less “self-centered.”

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“Wives, be subordinate to your husbands…Husbands, love your wives…Children, obey your parents in everything…Fathers, do not provoke your children…” (Colossians 3:18-21) Pope Francis said that families, through their life of prayer and love, become "schools of true human growth." Being credible witnesses of Christian love, especially that of family members, exerts the most positive influence on our children. We are all children of God, let us pray and love each other as God, Our Father, does for us.

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“When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” (Matthew 1:24) Putting our complete trust in the Lord without expecting anything in return. Striving to put God first in all things and follow Him wherever He may lead us.  As we prepare for the birth of our Lord, pray for the strength and courage to be a model of discipleship, just as Joseph was.

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“You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand.” (James 5:8) Patience is another one of those things many of us struggle with. We want things to go according to our plan and our schedule. Any change brings anxiety and fear. Through daily prayer we better align ourselves with God’s will and His plan, which is far better than anything we can come up with on our own.

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“Therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matthew 3:10) Do you bear good fruit for Christ? Or, do you spend your time, talent, and treasure constantly acquiring more toys, clutter, and junk. Our time, our talent, and our treasure are gifts that God has given us. What we do with them is our gift back to God. What gifts are you planning to give to the Lord during this upcoming Christmas season?

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“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come." (Matthew 24:42) People who have had health issues or near-death experiences generally have a greater appreciation for each day being a gift from God. The rest of us usually take for granted that we will be around tomorrow. But when you start to look at each day as a gift, you realize all the little miracles that happen daily and grow in gratitude for all that we have been given. You begin to see God’s active presence in your life.

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"….giving thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light.” (Colossians 1:12) God wants us to be happy! Instead of looking at the Ten Commandments as being restrictive and telling us what we can’t do, look at them as guides for living a joy-filled and peaceful life. Most of our problems arise when we put our own needs first or spend most of our time trying to acquire “things.” Instead, try putting God first in all things. Ask Him how He wants you to use your gifts.

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“…Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.” (2 Thessalonians 3:9) Most people who live a grateful and generous lifestyle don’t go around bragging about it. But through their actions and words, others do take notice. They notice because of the joy and peace that results and other people desire this in their own life. Know that the way you live your life may be the only interaction others have with our Catholic faith.

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“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word."       (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17) There are two important lessons here. First, we are called to be generous with our encouragement and hope. As God shows us mercy, we must be merciful to others. Second, joy is contagious! The joy we receive from doing good works not only strengthens us, it encourages others as well. Share the joy of living your faith whenever you can.

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“But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor, and if I extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.' " (Luke 19:8) We are all called to gratefully give back to the Lord in proportion to the blessings we have been given. This means everyone isn’t called to give the same amount, but is called to give equal sacrifice. No amount is too small or insignificant! Open your heart, how is God calling you to be more generous with your financial resources and possessions?

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“…for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14) Pride and ego is the root cause of most of our sins. Thinking your time is so valuable, your talent is better than anyone else and your money gives you status is another way of making those things “gods” before God. Remember all those gifts were God-given. Instead we should be humbled by God’s abundant generosity and our hearts should overflow with gratitude.

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“…proclaim the word, be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient...” (2 Timothy 4:2) It is not always convenient to be a good steward, especially when all the temptations of our busy and materialistic world get in the way. Now add our own pride and ego into the equation and living a stewardship lifestyle may be downright uncomfortable! Remember, God didn’t call us to be comfortable. He called us to be faithful.

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“Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” (Luke 17:18) Most of us live “easy” lives. We have food, shelter, and clothing. We go on vacation every year and own a car or two. Most of us take this all for granted. Did you ever notice that people with the least amount of possessions are usually the most grateful? Shouldn’t this be the other way around? Take time every day and thank God for all He has given you.

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“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Many of us compartmentalize our Faith, we bring it out only when we attend Mass or when we attend a parish event. Being a good steward requires discipline and striving to put God first in everything, all the time. The next time you are at a neighborhood party, at work or out shopping, would your actions signal to others that you are a good and faithful servant of our Lord?

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“My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established…” (Luke 16:25-26) When God created the world He declared that it was good and He gave it to all mankind for us to enjoy. However, over the years we have created a chasm between those who have great gifts and those who do not. In today’s Gospel we see that with our own generosity we must bridge that gap between those who have much and those who have little or we may ...

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Corpus Christi: Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ  On the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, we give special honor to Jesus, truly present in the most Blessed Sacrament of the altar. As Catholics, we worship the presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, both during Mass and outside of Mass. We are encouraged to spend time in prayer before the Lord in the Eucharist. Many parishes offer regular exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance. We may also choose to visit the church at other times to adore the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle. In his apostolic exhortation The Sacrame...

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In the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Jesus, addressing God the Father says, “And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world while I am coming to you.” Think about the ways that Christ remains present in the world and consider ways you can help make his presence felt. 

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