Home » March 19, 2023 - Pastor Message

March 19, 2023 - Pastor Message



“What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to him, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you do not give him the necessities of the body, what good is that? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).

We have been reflecting together this year on the steps necessary to carry out the mission Jesus entrusts to us, as a parish and as individual disciples. We have reflected on our need to actively listen to God and others to hear God’s call and the needs of our brothers and sisters. We have reflected on our need to prayerfully discern from what we have heard the path God has planned for us to meet those needs. Now we shift to the third step in the tripod of Christian mission, Christian action. Fruitful Christian action consists in three steps: plan, execute, and evaluate.

Fruitful action in any walk of life requires planning, and Christian action is no different, as Jesus himself teaches his disciples: “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work, the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish’” (Luke 14:28-30). To act without a plan is the same as shooting a basketball in the dark. By plain, dumb luck we may occasionally manage to hit the rim or backboard and even sink a shot or two through the net, but more often than not we will simply waste our time, energy, and resources throwing up nothing but airballs. Planning before we act turns on the lights, giving us a clearer vision of what we need to do to accomplish our goal and how we can do it most effectively.

As Christians, we plan to serve our mission on different levels. For example, as a parish, we have worked together to develop our parish pastoral plan that guides and organizes (or at least should) all the efforts of our various parish groups and ministries toward our common goal - to sow and nurture the seeds of God’s saving love in the hearts and minds of all our neighbors and beyond by living the gospel. Each parish group and ministry is urged to plan their various activities to further the parish pastoral plan, as is each one of us as parishioners according to our own vocation, abilities, gifts, and limitations. Planning at this more immediate level is called action planning.

Action planning is where the rubber hits the road, converting our broader plan into specific actions. A good action plan will provide the five W’s of our intended action: who, what, where, when, and why. Who, specifically, are the people for whom the proposed action will be done, and who, specifically, will do the proposed action and the various parts of it? What, specifically, is the proposed action, what steps are involved, and what resources will we need to do it? Where, specifically, will we do the proposed action? When, specifically, will we do it, and how long will it take? And finally, why are we doing it? In other words, how, specifically, does the proposed action further our mission?

Action planning takes time and effort to bear fruit, but failing to plan ahead wastes time and effort and produces no fruit. May we do the planning we need to serve our mission more faithfully and more fruitfully here at St. Boniface. Tune in next week when we will look at the second step of Christian action, executing our plan.

Fr. Marc Stockton


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