Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 22
May We Always Recognize That Everything We Have Is a Gift from God, and May Each of Us Be Wise and Responsible Stewards of These Gifts and Resources Which God Has Placed at Our Disposal.
Our Lord says to us in today’s Gospel, “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”
Every now and then, we find ourselves with a Scripture passage which tends to cause more confusion than understanding. On the surface, it might appear that Jesus is approving of the dishonesty shown by the steward in today’s Gospel. But when we view this parable in light of the local customs of Jesus’ day, then the significance of our Lord’s message begins to become much more apparent.
The heart of today’s parable does not lie in the question of the steward’s morality, but rather in his ability to be shrewd by ingratiating himself with his master’s debtors, so as to secure a favorable place for himself among those he had previously defrauded or overcharged.
Such shrewdness on the part of the steward would not only curry favor for himself with the debtors, but might also put himself in a more favorable position with the master of whom he had recently taken unfair advantage.
And our Lord responds to this by alerting us to our need to use spiritual foresight; that we, too, should be astute and intelligent in our wise use of our time, talents and treasures – the gifts which God gives to us – so that our Eternal Master may compliment us, rewarding us with a place in His Eternal Kingdom.
For it is in God’s Kingdom where we truly belong! And it is the path of decency and honesty which guide us to that which we were made to inherit, for God gives us the grace to distinguish between right and wrong, between what is holy and what is sinful.
Depending upon the audience, negative parables, which show the dangers of evil, sometimes teach a more forceful lesson than those that praise goodness. And the moral that Jesus is drawing from this parable is: “…the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”
In other words, worldly prudence is dealing with what pleases the eyes, the ears and the appetites. And sadly – for those obsessed with materialistic pleasures – worldly prudence has an attraction a thousand times more magnetic than spiritual prudence.
When one is obsessed with worldly pleasures – greed, selfish gratification, ego-centric thinking and actions in all its forms – one does not think of God or the spiritual consequences of their actions. In their way of life, “the children of this world” place themselves first and God last, for moral and ethical conduct are terms foreign to their way of thinking and acting.
And this way of thinking is exactly what we find in today’s first Reading form the Book of the Prophet Amos – “We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals.” And then we hear God respond, “Never will I forget a thing they have done!”
Throughout Sacred Scripture, and especially in the Gospels, we are taught that our inordinate love for materialism – the disproportionate love of money, fame, power and all other earthly pleasures – tends to crowd out our love for God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes clear through His teachings that our hearts must either be possessed by God’s Love, or our hearts will be possessed by the love of something else!
And our Lord is teaching us in today’s Gospel that when we live our faith, when we actually make Christianity a part of our daily lives, God will see in us someone He can trust, someone upon whom He can rely to be the extension of His Heart and His Voice, and He will reward us for our faithfulness –
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.”
One of the most valuable traits one can find in any person’s character is trust. Parents are entrusted with children. A pastor is entrusted with a community of faithful believers. A public official is entrusted with an office for the common good. As members of the human race, we are each entrusted with the responsibility of being caretakers for this planet on which we live and the resources upon which we depend.
As baptized members of our Christian community, you and I are entrusted with sharing our faith with others. Ah, and “there’s the rub!” Can God trust us with being proper stewards of our faith? Can God trust us with living a truly Christian life – becoming living witnesses for others to see, for others to imitate?
Saint Paul’s life was a living example of what being Christ-like was truly all about. Was he perfect? By no means! And Scripture scholars will tell us that he had a temper at times. But in the midst of his human imperfections, he never once hesitated to live the love which he felt for God. He never once hesitated to give witness to the saving Love of Jesus Christ, both personally and in the many Letters he wrote.
And today’s Letter was no exception, in which he encouraged Timothy and his readers to pray for everyone, even those in authority, for such practices are “good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.”
God has blessed each and every one of us with specific gifts. These gifts may be spiritual; they may be academic; they could even be material. Do you and I use the gifts with which we have been entrusted to help those in need?
If the gift is spiritual, do we use our gift to be compassionate and loving towards others, even praying for the needs of others? If the gift is academic, do we use this gift to help others in their spiritual growth and understanding of our God, who is a God of Love and Mercy? If the gift is material, do we reach out to help those who are less fortunate? Stewardship entails all this and so much more.
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones…”
In other words, with the gifts which God has entrusted to our care, our Lord is asking that we become His Voice in a world which has closed its ears to all that He wishes to say to us. Our Lord is asking us to become His Heart in a society and in a culture which has become heartless. Our Lord is asking us to become the extension of His Love to all those who feel unloved and unwanted.
May you and I always recognize that everything we have, our families, the possessions we call our own, even our very life – all are gifts from God. May each of us be wise and responsible stewards of the gifts and resources which God has placed at our disposal.
And may we recognize that true stewardship includes our wise and prudent usage of time, talent and treasure. For with what we, as “children of light”, have been entrusted, we already know in our hearts that everything rightfully belongs to Eternal Love Himself.
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. ‘For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.’” (Luke 16:8)
- “We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals.” (Amos 8:5b-6a)
- “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: ‘Never will I forget a thing they have done!’” (Amos 8:7)
- “For many…conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their ‘shame.’ Their minds are occupied with earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven.” (Philippians 3:18ac-20a)
- “Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
- “…I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
- “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” (1 Peter 4:10)
- “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” (Luke 16:10)
- “No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)
- “Blessed the man who sets his security in the LORD, who turns not to the arrogant or to those who stray after falsehood.” (Psalm 40:5)
- “Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Romans 12:9-11)
Prayer for the Day
“Jesus, Loving Companion of Your children,
You have extended Your friendship to all.
You opened Your arms without discrimination,
offering Your warmth to those seeking comfort.
“Endow me with the virtue of such a friendship,
to know, love and trust all on an equal basis;
To share my friendship without prejudice,
and to be charitable towards those who are less fortunate.
“Fashion my heart to reflect Your qualities,
those befitting a loving and caring spirit.
Jesus, You showed me the way to true friendship;
Help me to be more like You in the world around me. Amen.”Anonymous