77x9upgqrou61pfdt366pzq84hl.jpgIn their Pastoral Letter entitled "Stewardship: A Disciple's Response", the US Bishops clearly stated that "Once one chooses to become a disciple of Jesus Christ, stewardship is not an option."

In the Subtitle "The Call TO Stewardship" they wrote: "Becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ leads naturally to the practice of stewardship. These linked realities, discipleship and stewardship, then make up the fabric of a Christian life in which each day is lived in an intimate, personal relationship with the Lord.

The Christ-centered way of living has its beginning in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. As Vatican II remarks, all Christians are 'bound to show forth, by the example of their lives and by the witness of their speech,' that new life of faith which begins in Baptism and is strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation (Ad Gentes, no. 11). Faith joins individuals and the community of Jesus' followers in intimacy with their Lord and leads them to live as his disciples. Union with Christ gives rise to a sense of solidarity and common cause between the disciples and the Lord and also among the disciples themselves.

Refracted through the prisms of countless individual vocations, this way of life embodies and expresses the one mission of Christ: to do God's will, to proclaim the Good News of salvation, to heal the afflicted, to care for one's sisters and brothers, to give life—life to the full—as Jesus did.

Following Jesus is the work of a lifetime. At every step forward, one is challenged to go further in accepting and loving God's will. Being a disciple is not just something else to do, alongside many other things suitable for Christians; it is a total way of life and requires continuing conversion.

Stewardship plays an important role in the lives of people who seek to follow Christ. In particular, as we have said, Christians must be stewards of their personal vocations, for it is these that show how, according to the circumstances of their individual lives, God wants them to cherish and serve a broad range of interests and concerns: life and health, along with their own intellectual and spiritual well-being and that of others; material goods and resources; the natural environment; the cultural heritage of humankind—indeed, the whole rich panoply of human goods, both those already realized and those whose realization depends upon the present generation or upon generations yet to come. Catholics have a duty, too, to be stewards of their Church: that community of disciples, that Body of Christ, of which they, individually and together, are the members, and in which 'if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy'" (1 Cor. 12:26).

It is part of our Christian understanding that whatever we have has been given to us by God. As such we are all stewards of God's gifts. It is therefore expected of us, as faithful stewards, to adequately put our TIME, TALENT and TREASURE in the service of God as we serve one another and the Church. St Peter the Apostle reminds us: "As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God's varied grace" (1Peter 4:10).