A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – SEPT. 18TH, 2016
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
We know that the artist, scientist, inventor Leonardo Di Vinci used his gifts, his talents, and his time to create of the world’s greatest works of art. We know that the musician Ludwig van Beethoven used his gifts, his talents, and his time to create some of the world’s most beautiful music. We know that Kim Kardashian has made herself famous. We don’t know how. We don’t know of any gifts or talent, and she seems to waste a good deal of time. But she has used all of her abilities, and money, and all of her looks, to make herself famous! And if you figure that one out, let me know. Then there’s Bernie Madoff. Bernie Madoff spent his entire life, all of talents, all of his time, all of his worldly abilities, to build up a Ponzi scheme that stole $170 Billion dollars from his clients, including several large retirement funds, and celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Kevin Bacon. He is a thief and liar and he stole from thousands of people! Much like the shady manager in today’s parable, you wonder what great things that Bernie Madoff may have achieved with his life, if he weren’t so busy using his time and talents, to steal from people. And how much good could Bernie Madoff had done for God, if he hadn’t chosen the world and himself?
Today’s Gospel tells the story of a sharp-dealing and corrupt manager. When his wickedness catches up with him, and he is about to be fired, he cooks up still another illegal and unjust solution to his situation. He starts writing off debts to his boss, and giving away money that is not his. This is all to look good and make friends with these debtors, for when he is out of a job. See how he uses every opportunity that he can get, to improve his lot in life. He is ingenious and cunning, in response to his situation, even if he using his creativity for the wrong thing. And Jesus asks the question, why aren’t those living for Heaven, as creative and inventive as those living for this world?
It is important to notice here, that in St. Luke’s Gospel, Jesus tends to speak a lot about money and to how to understand the bounty of this world. Scholars tell us that St. Luke’s Gospel was written for a money-conscious, urban, sophisticated, Greek, Gentile, community. Money and wealth were very important to the readers of St. Luke’s Gospel. It is not a far-stretch of the truth, to say that St. Luke’s Gospel was written for Westfield, and Carmel, and Zionsville, and Noblesville. The people that St. Luke is writing his Gospel for, knew and loved the world. They were successful and they wanted to be even more successful. And the way that they saw their success, was in how much money they could make. Throughout his Gospel, St. Luke is challenging them, and us, to live not for this passing world, and its money, but for Jesus’ Kingdom that last forever. And he’s telling us, as Jesus did, that we have to make a choice. We cannot serve both God and mammon. A choice needs to be made.
Jesus uses the image of the bad steward to teach about the Kingdom. We are to be as cunning in our pursuit of the Kingdom of God, as this devious steward! The Kingdom of God demands our most creative and inventive response that we can possibly give it. We need to have the same desperation in our seeking Jesus’ Kingdom, as the bad steward has today, in seeking to save his own skin once he is fired. Do we? Where is our enthusiasm? Where is our creativity? Where is our sense that we will do anything and everything, to get home to Heaven?
The Kingdom demands the same devious response, for the reality is that we ARE just as needy, if not just as desperate, as the bad steward! Our need is not for material security, like his, but we have a real need for a spiritual security, the kind that comes only from having a deep, and intimate relationship with Christ! We are asked to bring to our Faith all of the cunning, all of the talent, all of the preparation, all of the perseverance, and all of the energy that we often reserve only for our major earthly needs. But now we are to use all these things, to build the Kingdom of God. Let us prove ourselves trustworthy! Let us choose God and His Kingdom! And let us work every day, with everything that we have, to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to others!
May God bless us this day, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!