4 November 2022 – Friday of Week 31

4 November 2022 – Friday of Week 31

Optional Memorial: St Charles Borromeo, 1538-1584, patron of catechists and seminarians.

1st Reading: Philippians 3:17—4:1

We should be guided by the cross of Christ, because our citizenship is in heaven

Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

Responsorial: from Psalm 121

R./: Let us go with joy to the house of the Lord

I rejoiced when I heard them say:
‘Let us go to God’s house.’
And now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem. (R./)

Jerusalem is built as a city
strongly compact.
It is there that the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord. (R./)

For Israel’s law it is,
there to praise the Lord’s name.
There were set the thrones of judgement
of the house of David.  (R./)

Gospel: Luke 16:1-8

Parable of the unjust steward; the children of this age are shrewd in their dealings

Jesus said, “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; or the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”


What motivates us?

What spurs us to action in our daily lives? Some seem to lack motivation while others are workaholics, swept on by drive and ambition and wanting to drive other people hard as well. A good example of the activist temperament is Paul, apostle of the gentiles, man of many travels (Acts 13-28), prolific writer of letters to the communities of faith that he had founded. In today’s text he boasts of the work he has done for God. We can search his writings for signs of how to regulate our own activity.

The guidance that Paul consciously sought was that of the Holy Spirit, the power through which we become “heirs with Christ.” Paul was at the service of Christ, with a courage that spurred him to preach where Christ’s name was unknown. Yet all through this work Paul found time for prayer and contemplation, for being with the Christ whom he proclaimed as saviour. His ideal was to inspire new life in the hearts of believers. He could urge the Philippians to “be imitators of me,” sharing in his spirit of self-giving. True Christianity is forward-looking, for already “our citizenship is in heaven.” Paul was and remained an apostle of hope. We read from him today: Christ will give a new form to this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of his glorified body.

In the gospel today, we find a plainer, more common-sense level of discourse. We are called on to be enterprising and to act with initiative. Jesus notes how worldly people possess these qualities more than the other-worldly. But in making good use of our bodies and human talents, we are serving the God who created us in the divine image and likeness (Gen 1:26) and to offer spiritual sacrifice to God who dwells within us as the temple of divine glory (2 Cor 6:16).

No paragons of virtue

Some of the characters in Our Lord’s stories are far from admirable, even if most of them have some redeeming features. The prodigal son did make the journey home again, better late than never. And the principal character in today’s parable is no paragon of virtue, but he could act shrewdly and decisively in a crisis.

The dishonest steward had wasted his master’s property, but when he lost his job and his back was to the wall, he arranged for others to help him afterwards. Jesus suggests that we have something to learn, not from the steward’s dishonesty, but from his vigorous action to save himself from ruin.

Sometimes we may need to be decisive in taking the path that God wants us to take. There can be something we need to do or to stop doing if we are to keep our integrity and continue walking in the way of the Lord.

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