Thursday, May 20, 2010
Ministry of Stewardship-Manning the Barque of Peter
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:36-39
The Catholic Church is often referred to as the “Barque of Peter” in reference to St. Peter’s first career as a fisherman before he became Pope. Every barque or boat, requires a leader or steward to maintain balance during rough seas, to keep the boat floating and to prevent capsizing. But no steward can manage this difficult task alone, he requires the assistance of a faithful crew to successfully sail the ship.
As Pope Benedict is the current leader of this Barque,the Church,all faithful Catholics are called upon to assist him at the helm by witnessing to others and by living our faith. We can best do this attending Sunday Mass and sharing in the life of our parish as active members, freely volunteering our time and giving of our treasure for the common good of all. It is the through the work of volunteer parishioners joyfully rowing the oars that the boat will stay its course when the storms of life become threatening. We are called to prayerfully discern the individual gifts that God has blessed us with, and then offer these gifts back to God in the service of our parish and church. It is especially during times of trial and suffering, when our church needs us the most, that we must fall on our knees in prayer and open our hearts to the generous giving of our time, talent and treasure so that our boat will remain afloat. In the words of St. Anselm,
“The Barque of the Church may be swept by the waves, but it can never sink, because Christ is there. When the church is in greatest need, Christ comes to its help with miracles or by raising up saintly men and women to purify it. It is the Barque of Peter, and when the storms threaten to sink it, the Lord awakens from his sleep and commands the winds and waters into calm.”
No matter how turbulent the waters may become, Jesus is always at the ready to protect us, provide for us and defend us. And the bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay men and women of the church are all in this together, each fulfilling our functions and providing for those who need our gifts. We work as a team, pulling together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.