HOMILY FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN THE ORDINARY TIME( YR C)
SEPTEMBER 22, 2019.
First reading: Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113:1-2,4-6,7-8; 1 Second reading :Timothy 2:1-8; Gospel: Luke 16:1-13
“As long anyone has the means of doing good to his neighbors and does not do so, he shall be reckoned a stranger to the love of the Lord”.
My dearest friends in Christ, welcome to another encounter with the transforming and eternal life-giving words of our Lord Jesus Christ. The readings of today remind us of what God expects from us– serving Him with the privileges and opportunities we have in life by being good and faithful stewards to the poor and to all whom we encounter.
Many have privileges in life which many others do not have. Many today are placed in high positions of authority and wield so much power and influence in society, while many others (a greater number ) are less privileged and do not have the opportunities like the privileged few. Whether we are privileged or not, we all have something in common–we are humans and more particularly we are children of God. Therefore, the standard for measuring our relationship with one another is our love and kindness. What we do with the privileges we have in life determine how many blessings that come our way and how many opportunities we shall likely have in the future. “The value of life does not depend upon the place we occupy. It depends upon the way we occupy that place.”
- St. Therese of Lisieux
In the first reading, Amos the prophet of social justice, condemned the Jewish merchants of Judea in the 8th century BC for their crooked business and expressed how God swore by the pride of Jacob never to forget such evil treatment. God, till this day, detests those who use their privileged positions, opportunities, wealth, talents and so forth to humiliate, trample on or dehumanize the poor or the less privileged. These were some of the crimes Amos lamented on: Those who “fix their scale for cheating” ( adjust gas/fuel pumps) and those who diminish the quality of services they render or goods they sell to others( sell fake products in place of quality ones). I can go on and on in the list of crimes we commit against others to make money in our world. Today we are warned to desist from our evil ways lest we perish by the anger of God who abhors the exploitation of the less privileged.
We are not equally privileged in life, and no one is privileged in every aspect of life, so we need one another. So, if you are privileged to be in any position where you have to do something for others, do it with fear of God; offer your best knowing that you may not have that opportunity tomorrow.
A literal interpretation of the gospel of today would lead one into believing that Jesus commends dishonesty or that the dishonest steward’s actions were morally commendable. The steward sensed the danger ahead(losing his job) and decides to manipulate if I should say, the financial records of his master’s business to his own favor. In today’s world, such action would not only lead to his or her dismissal from the job but also land him or her in court and possibly a jail term. It is criminal to manipulate financial records and all those who benefitted from that sinful action are themselves accomplices in the crime. Jesus never commended the steward for his evil deeds( wasting His resources) but praised his shrewdness for having thought of doing good to others with his privileged position as a steward. This gospel challenges us to use our time, energy, wealth, talents positions and privileges to do good to others when we have the opportunity to do so, to earn eternal friendship with God and man and be welcomed into our heavenly home. Do not forget that ” The bread you store up belongs to the hungry; the cloak that lies in your chest belongs to the naked; the gold you have hidden in the ground belongs to the poor.”
– St. Basil the Great
Let us avoid living dishonest lives in our attitude to wealth and service to others in our different positions in life. Dishonesty which is corruption, is what is destroying our relationships and our society. When we are dishonest with wealth, we profess more love for it than to God Who is the giver of the wealth, hence serving mammon and neglecting God. At this point I would beg of you to reflect deeply on these words from the gospel pericope:
“If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another”, who will give you what is yours?” “The person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” These are words on marble and every person who wants to be at peace with himself or herself, with others and especially with God must surely take these seriously. Life we often say, is what we make out of it. Any good deed done to others has its blessings and rewards. When you are on your way going up, be good to those you meet because you may likely see them on your way back and by then, they may decide your fate. Pay attention to little things because they actually decide a lot about your abilities in handling greater things. With St. Paul let us offer prayers and supplication for everyone especially those who are more privileged than others “that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity”.
Prayer : Lord I thank you for the privileges you granted me in spite of my unworthiness. Give me an honest and generous heart to do good to others and may I not derail from loving you due to material wealth. Amen.
I keep you and your family in my prayers.
Clem C Aladi.