Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, April 15

Happy Easter! ALLELUIA!

What a great weekend we had last weekend: wonderful music, great preaching, huge crowds, fabulous decorations and flowers, and a warm, lively spirit. It was a great celebration of Easter.  


Many thanks to all those who made it possible. The biggest thanks, of course, go to God the Father, the Holy Spirit and to Jesus. Without God’s phenomenal gift to us of His Only Son, and Jesus’ acceptance of the cross, we would have nothing to celebrate. But God’s love is so great, so forceful, so pervasive and unstoppable that it has overcome death and sin. WOW!  We have something to celebrate not only on Easter, but every day of our lives.

The proper response is gratitude and thanks. Unlike the Government (hope you all have your taxes done, for this is also tax day!), God does not withhold any of our earnings. God allows us to graciously respond in generosity, as we are moved by gratitude, never coerced or forced.

We all have an opportunity to respond in gratitude to God’s phenomenal generosity to us next weekend, April 21-22, as we observe our annual PLEDGE WEEKEND here at St. Austin.

Less than a quarter (about 22%) of our parish makes an annual pledge. The pledge is a commitment of membership and belonging, of taking a share in the responsibility of supporting and growing our parish community. Regardless of the size of the pledge, the very act of making a pledge is tantamount to accepting responsibility of this parish community as an active member. Spiritually, it is a good thing to do, so I urge you to pledge.

My hope is that we will be able to increase the number of parish families who pledge by 10% this year. The main focus is on giving in thanksgiving and in gratitude for God’s countless blessings. Our giving is always a response to what God has done for us first. So first of all you have to consider how you have been blessed by God, and there is no better time for that than the Easter Season.

I ask that you please read the letter and materials you will soon be receiving from me. If you do not get one this week, call the church office (512-477-9471), and we will send you one.  Please pray over how God has blessed you and your family. Take some time to study the Guide to Weekly Giving that is printed on the back side of the Financial Support form. This is meant to be a reality check to help challenge you to greater gratitude – not a guilt trip. And of course, make your pledge by returning the form in next weekend’s collection, or online, or by mail.  THANK YOU!

God has given His Beloved Son so that we might become Children of God.  Please respond it gratitude. 

God bless! 

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