Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Reading 1 - Am 8:4-7; Responsorial Psalm - Ps 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8; Reading II - 1 Tm 2:1-8; Gospel - Lk 16:1-13 or 16:10-13
THE ATTITUDE OF THE STEWARD
In Today’s Gospel Jesus tells a confusing parable. He praises a steward who cheats his master out of wealth. What is going on and what is Jesus getting at?
TWO REASONS TO PRAISE THE STEWARD – DEAL IN REALITY AND TAKES THE INITIATIVE.
Jesus praises the dishonest steward for two reasons. First, the Steward is dealing in reality. He recognizes the situation that he is in (He is going to be fired for his poor stewardship), and he takes action to solve the impending problem (He is going to lose his job).
Jesus is encouraging us to imitate the steward in our spiritual lives in two ways.
HE DEALS IN REALITY
The first way that we can imitate the dishonest steward is to deal in reality. How often do we recognize the situation that we are in with regard to our salvation? One way that we can deal in reality is to make a daily examination of conscience at the end of each day before going to bed. Ask for the Holy Spirit – who Christ sent to lead us to the Truth to reveal to us the state of our soul for a day.
HE USES HIS GIFTS TO GET OUT OF A JAM.
The second way to imitate the steward is to be energetic and resourceful about solving the problems of our reality. The Steward used the gifts at his disposal to work his way out of a difficult situation. We too need to imitate the steward and use the gifts that God has given us to help us to conquer sin.
WHAT IS DISHONEST WEALTH?
Jesus describes the gifts that the Steward uses to solve his problem as “Dishonest Wealth”. It is wealth that the Steward has not earned by his own hard work. He takes the promissory notes and rewrites them for the debtors to be something that is possible. Jesus does the same thing for us. Our sin creates a promissory note to God that we cannot possibly pay. Jesus takes that promissory note and re-writes it, in His own blood.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH DISHONEST WEALTH!
This is why Jesus encourages us to make friends with Dishonest Wealth – to make friends with the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. This is the key verse to the parable and helps us to unlock what Christ is saying here.
HOW DO WE MAKE FRIENDS WITH DISHONEST WEALTH? - BY BECOMING TRUSTWORTHY IN SMALL MATTERS = WHAT BELONGS TO ANOTHER – THE GIFTS THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US.
A Christian is a person who is a follower, an imitator of Christ. All of us Christians here today are called to be imitators of Jesus. We do this by using the gifts that belong to another (the gifts that God has given us) for others. We demonstrate our trustworthiness to God when we use the gifts that he has given to us for the benefits of others.
WE WILL BE ENTRUSTED WITH TRUE WEALTH - LARGE MATTERS
When we can succeed in using our Gifts that God has given us to help our sisters and brothers, then we will be entrusted with true wealth – with eternal life.
OK, THAT IS ALL FINE AND GOOD – BUT I DON’T FEEL LIKE GIVING; THANKSGIVING – THE ROOT OF GENEROSITY.
Recently I attended a meeting of the Altar and Rosary society, which is a community of women here in the parish that is focused on ensuring that we have all of the necessities for celebrating the liturgy. At this meeting one of the women expressed her gratefulness to her sisters for their prayers for one of her loved ones. He had been suffering from cancer, and by their intercession, he was healed. This had happened several years ago, but her heart was still filled with thanksgiving. There is a direct connection between Thanksgiving and generosity.
THE BEGINNING OF OFFERING YOUR GIFTS FOR GOD IS TO FIRST BECOME AWARE OF WHAT WE ARE THANKFUL FOR. THIS ALLOWS US TO GIVE FREELY, WITHOUT DISTRACTION.
Thankfulness opens the gates of generosity. When we are able to understand what we are thankful for, we are able to set aside the distractions to our generosity with our gifts, and give freely.
WHAT DISTRACTS US FROM BEING TRUSTWORTHY IN SMALL MATTERS? / WHAT DISTRACTS US FROM EXPRESSING OUR THANKFULNESS? (MAMMON)
We live in a culture where advertising is always trying to tell us that we will only be happy when we get the next new thing, or the next new new thing, or the new next thing, or the next next new thing. This gives us a sense of ingratitude, because I can never achieve happiness. As Christians it is important that we are aware of this so that we can work against it. When we become aware of our stinginess we can make it part of our daily prayer to give thanks to God for the gifts that He has given us. If it is a struggle for you to be thankful then ask the Holy Spirit to help you to become thankful for the gifts that God has given you.
WHAT IN THE WORLD IS MAMMON?
This is why Jesus says that we cannot serve both God and Mammon. Mammon will never satisfy us, and it will distract us, and disable us in our pursuit of God. Mammon means “That in which one puts ones trust”. Here Jesus uses mammon to mean things of the world, the Mammon of iniquity, the Things that we trust in that are not of God.
In the Gospel today Christ challenges us to trust in God, to love Him, serve Him and imitate Him. How trustworthy are we proving to be with our stewardship of His gifts?