18 Sept 2022 – 25th Sunday (C)

(1) Amos 8:4-7

God is concerned for justice and fair play

Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Responsorial: Psalm 112:1-2, 4-8

R./: Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor.

Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed
both now and for evermore! (R./)

High above all nations is the Lord,
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God,
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down,
to look down upon heaven and earth? (R./)

From the dust he lifts up the lowly,
from the dungheap he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes,
yes, with the princes of his people. (R./)

(2) 1 Timothy 2:1-8

We pray for everyone, including public officials, hoping that all will be saved

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all-this was attested at the right time. For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument;

Gospel: Luke 16:1-13

You cannot serve God and wealth

or, shorter version: 16:10-13]

Jesus said to the disciples,
“There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’

So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’

And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?

No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”


Filthy Lucre?

A schoolboy had to write an essay on “The adventures of a pound note.” Nowadays it would be the history of a fifty-euro note. On average, banknotes have a life-span of just over twelve months. After passing through many hands, they are recalled and incinerated. It would be fascinating to follow the new banknote’s uses from the moment it came fresh and crisp off the mint until it’s burning in the incinerator, some twelve months later. Every crease, every stain on it, would have a tale to tell. It passed through wallets and purses, pockets and handbags. Only God knows where it has been and what it was been spent. It has its joyful mysteries and its sorrowful mysteries. It might even have its glorious moments. Has it been used to buy a fix of heroin or cocaine, or to bribe someone to secure a contract? Was it ever picked from a pensioner’s pocket? It could as easily have bought medicine for a sick child or education for someone from a poor family. It could have been an anonymous donation to a worthy cause. It could have been somebody’s gift to a neighbour worse off than themselves. It could have been sent to the Third World and fed a whole family there for a week.

Many worry about devaluation and shrinking purchasing power as they recall what money could buy when they were young. But in a sense what really devalues money is if we make bad use of it. “Use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends,” said Jesus, “and when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity.” The rich can be casual about money, but in tenements and shanty-towns around the world, even the price of a meal can be a precious and elusive thing. Oscar Wilde said that a cynic is “one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.” A Christian should be the reverse: one who has less interest in the price of a thing than in its true value.

No pockets in a shroud

“The love of money is the root of all evil” says St Paul. He did not call money itself the root of all evil, but rather the love of money. Of course money is needed as a means of exchanging goods in every organised society. But a person can become its slave through excessive love of money. It can become a substitute for God in one’s life. In George Bernard Shaw’s play, Major Barbara, when the rich industrialist was asked what was his religion he answered, “Why, I’m a millionaire. That’s my religion!” but life is far more precious than the money we have, the food we eat or the clothes we wear. Possessions are only on loan to us, and in time we must leave them all behind. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,” (Job 1:21), “and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away.”

The story about the Unjust Steward is about the fair and just use of money. Great personal wealth is rarely acquired without some sharp practice, and so Jesus regards money as somehow tainted. The laws and structures of society still seem to cater not so much to the common good but to the benefit of the wealthy and the priveleged few. We need to keep in mind the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the merciful, blessed are those who strive for justice.” This brings true fulfilment and the greatest reward of all, the friendship of God for all eternity. Deep down, we know that there are no pockets in a shroud.


One Comment

  1. Thara Benedicta says:

    Key Message:
    When will we hear these words from our Lord Jesus Christ – ‘Well done, you good and faithful servant!’ 

    Our Lord Jesus teaches us today about faithfulness. Let us look more into it.

    Faithfulness is doing God’s will when things are not going according to our will:
    We can easily follow God’s will when it is in line with our will. We will be excited to do it. But during hard situations, if we are not faithful, we will tend to ignore God’s will. Abraham did the hardest things just for our God. When God tested Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his only son Isaac, he obeyed. When Joseph was placed in prison for sins he had not committed, he still believed in God. He enjoyed favours in prison too. When Job lost everything, all his wealth, family, including his ten children, his health, he still held on to God. When Satan challenged God, that once Job lost all his wealth and family he would curse God, Job praised God. When we undergo trials, there is an actual challenge between God and Satan on how we respond. Satan will bet that we will curse God, but God will say “No, my child will believe in me and love me still!!” Who will win the bet? Our faithfulness determines it!!

    Faithfulness in doing God’s will even when no one else is doing:
    We have a wonderful example in the Bible, Noah. The Bible gives an account of Noah – “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” Noah walked with God when everyone else in the world was walking against God. He had the courage to do the right thing when everyone else in his world was wrong. He had the courage to nurture and bring up his children according to God’s will, when other children were always practicing sinful ways. In the midst of the sinful world, he was righteous. Looks like Noah’s world was similar to our current world. Though the entire world was covered with evil, one person had the courage to be righteous. He did not sigh, saying, “Since the entire world is evil, I cannot be good. Otherwise I will be separated from others.” But what happened? God separated Noah from the people and made his ark land on the high mountains. He was taken from the land and was placed on the mountain top.
    Since others are doing wrong, let us not join their ways. The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him (2 Chronicles 16:9). Still He is searching for Noahs. 
    Where are the Noahs now? 
    When one Noah was able to follow God and remain pure, why can’t we also follow God’s ways and remain pure?

    Faithfulness in interceding for others:
    In today’s second reading, the Apostle Paul asks us to pray for everyone. We have great examples of intercessory prayer from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and the Holy Spirit from the Bible. Mother Mary intercedes for us to Her Son. All the guardian angels and saints are also interceding continuously for us. In today’s situation, there is an urgent requirement to join God’s army and pray for all. In the Old Testament when Moses lifted up his hands towards Heaven, Israelites fought and were winning. When the hands of Moses came down, Israelites fought and were losing. So the difference between winning and losing was not how fiercely the Israelites fought. The winning recipe was the hands of Moses lifted up to Heaven. Are our hands lifted up to Heaven for our family, nation and the world?
    The Apostle Paul says that we need to pray for our rulers if we need to live in peace and dignity. If our peace and dignity are missing in our nations then it indicates that prayers are missing for our nation. Other than us who know the real Lord Jesus Christ, who can pray? So it is like the entire system is waiting on us to be rejuvenated.
    Our God has promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The only solution that can heal our nation is our prayers. God has placed us in a nation, as prayer pillars for that nation.
    Can we, the faithful, fully pray and heal our nation?

    Faithfulness in doing new things our God shows:
    In Genesis 12, we read God calling Abraham, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” God did not even give the address where he had to go. He just said leave everything and start walking, I will show you later. So Abraham left everything as God said and started. Six chapters later, in Genesis 18:17, we find God saying, ““Should I hide what I am about to do from Abraham?”
    God became so attached to Abraham that He could not do anything without telling Abraham. Abraham became a friend of God.

    Faithfulness in accomplishing God’s will:
    In the parable of the talents, where a master gives 5, 2, or 1 talents to his three servants: Similar to these servants we all have received different talents. In this parable, the master does not question the one who got 2 talents only, why he did not make it to 10. He understands that with 2 he can make only 4. Similarly, we can be happy even if we are not in the same career level as our friends. God will be impressed with our achievements in our current level. But when we fear, and if out of fear we are not using our talents like the servant with one talent, then Jesus calls us unfaithful servants. Our Lord Jesus has very clearly quoted that ‘Fear can lead us to become unfaithful’. The person with one talent was not lethargic, but he feared failure. Our Lord calls him an unfaithful servant. We need to be courageous to be faithful. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” should be our prayer even in our thoughts. When Peter was about to drown, our Lord Jesus lifted him up immediately. It is better than standing in the comfort of our boat and just watching others walking on water.  
    When we do not waste time and try to do what we need to do, God appreciates us from Heaven. Our physical ears do not have the capability to hear it, but there is appreciation from above. When people around us spend time extravagantly on useless stuff without conscience, it is like wasting the single talent they have got. At the same time when we invest our time to do productive work we can listen to these words – “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”. 

    Faithfulness leads us to victory:
    1 Corinthians 2:9- “What no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him.” Faithfulness enables us to enjoy the gifts God has prepared for us on earth. For example, let us consider the life of St. Joseph, the foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says he was a just man. His “faithfulness” enabled him to become the foster father of Our Lord Jesus. Our faithfulness will position us to do great works for our Lord Jesus!!

    We have a faithful God. Are we faithful servants?

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