Cardinal John’s Newsletter 23 March 2017

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Dear Friends
The last two Saturdays have been spent in two different parishes, Ohariu and Marlborough. Along with other diocesan staff I have been in those parishes for Stewardship Workshops. They were both very well attended and there was wonderful participation by those present. Both times we have used the Gospel for the Sunday, one week the Transfiguration and then last Sunday’s Gospel story of the Woman at the Well. Using those Lenten Gospels started me thinking about other parts of the Gospel and Stewardship, and particularly about Lent and the lead up to Easter.

In trying to understand the true power of Stewardship I don’t think we need to look any further than the cross. The cross serves as a powerful example of giving everything away freely for God and for the people of God. The example of course is Jesus, Jesus who an-swered the call, regardless of the cost, the cost being life itself.

Most of us will never have to sacrifice our lives in response to God’s call. There are however Christians all around the world who do that every day. Missionaries in many places have faced violence and lost their lives, or have succumbed to fatal diseases. People standing up for the basic rights of others have lost their own right to live. Men and women who have sworn to keep the peace or to rescue others from disasters have given up time with family and friends for the sake of the vulnerable. Everywhere there are people who respond to the call of God with courage and commitment.

Our sacrifice may not be as great, but it does not diminish the power of our response. Maybe through our small everyday actions, God will touch someone else and their life will be transformed. It is not the size of the sacrifice that counts but the complete willingness to give that sacrifice. Jesus’ sacrifice is sufficient for the salvation of all humanity. What we are asked to do is to translate that reality into our own somewhat simple lives.

On those days when being a good steward seems too difficult, we look to the cross and find strength in a God who knows how hard life can be at times. We also look to fellow stewards and find empa-thy and companionship. We reflect on the lives of the saints and those who gave their lives because of their love for God. We give thanks and go out to the world around us which needs the presence of Jesus – and we acknowledge how hard the day would be without him.

With every blessing.
+ John