September 22, 2019

A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” –  9/22/19 – SMG

+   Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to you this day!

I suppose we’ve all been in trouble before, where we had to come up with a solution to our problem, before the problem got worse.  It may be having a flat tire on the side of the road.  It may be getting injured and not being able to cut your grass.   It may be burning dinner on the grill or in the oven, and not quite being sure what you’re going to feed your family.  These are difficult situations that can get much worse.

Jesus gives us another similar situation in our Gospel today.  This man, who has served as a rich man’s steward for some time, finds out that he is about to lose his job.  This is a problem.  This man is also in trouble.   What is he going to do?  He says he can’t dig ditches.  And he is too ashamed to beg.  And so the man concocts a scheme to endear himself with those who owe his master money or goods.  He cuts their debt.  Now, these debtors love this.  They owe a whole lot less money and goods.  They are grateful to the fired steward, and will most likely be kind to him, after he loses his job.  Perhaps one of them will give the steward another job after he is fired.  You see, as the steward for the rich man, the steward has the right to make these changes to the various debts.  It’s not really his money that he is giving away.   The surprising part is that even the master is impressed.  He’s the one who is really losing the money.   And yet, the master is impressed with the dishonest servant’s creativity and prudence, in finding a solution to his problem, of being out of a job.  He commends the dishonest steward.  Kind of a surprise in a Gospel story.   And yet, this Gospel text affirms for us God’s desire that we all ask for and receive His mercy, and then that we share it with one another.

Then, it is Jesus Himself that is applauding the creativity and ingenuity of the worldly.  And Jesus, as God, would know.  He has seen all the behavior of mankind down through the ages.   How creative and how ingenious are human beings when it comes to sin!   Jesus seems to be telling us, as children of the light, that we should be more aggressive, more creative, and even more ingenious, when it comes to goodness and holiness, than what we are.  Are we trying as hard at being good and holy, as the children of the world are, at rich and powerful?  The Lord desires that we all show such industry in our pursuit of eternal life.  Are we?

And to a certain extent, that’s what all these readings this weekend come down do, are we letting money rule our lives, or is God in charge of our lives?  No man can serve two masters.  We cannot serve both God and mammon.  We’ve got to pick a side.  We’ve got to decide which god we want to follow.  Experience tells us that our money and our things may leave us or be taken away at any time, but that God, our God, is firm anchor!  God is always there for us!

The late Evangelist Billy Graham said that God gave us two hands –  one to give, and one to receive.  We need both!  If we fold those hands together, we can pray to God Who is the source of all blessings.  Let us ask the Lord, then, to help us to use all we have wisely, and to build up God’s Kingdom.   The Prophet Amos is right when he says that God never forgets a thing that we

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have done.  Today he was talking about the crimes committed against the poor and less fortunate.  But Amos would also admit that God does not forget the good that we do either.  Since that’s the case, let us live lives that are worthy of remembering, lives that are full of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy

Do you remember those?  The seven spiritual works of mercy are …

  1. To instruct the ignorant
  2. To counsel the doubter
  3. To admonish the sinner’
  4. To bear wrongs patiently
  5. To forgive offenses willingly
  6. To comfort the afflicted
  7. To pray for the living and the dead

And the seven corporal works of mercy…

  1. To feed the hungry
  2. To give water to the thirsty
  3. To clothe the naked
  4. To shelter the homeless
  5. To visit the sick
  6. To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive
  7. To bury the dead.

 

If we’re going to live for God, then these are the way that we are supposed to be living.  If we’re going to live for the world, and mammon, and money, well, we already know how to do that.  Let’s live differently.  Let’s stay out of trouble.  And may we know that our Master, is always going to be pleased with our work, when we’re doing it for Him!

+  God bless us today,  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                            AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                  Pray for us!!!