FR. GERALD MUOKA HOMILY FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C (4)







FR. GERALD MUOKA HOMILY FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

THEME: APPLYING WITHIN THE PURSUIT OF HIGHER GOALS

BY: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka

HOMILYFOR SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18 2022

 

R1 – Amos 8:4-7
R2 – 1Tim 2:1-8
GOSPEL – Luke 16:1-13

_Dan Miller_ in his book, _No More Dreaded Mondays_ , tells a delightful story about a farmer many years ago in a village in India who had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the village moneylender. The old and ugly moneylender fancied the farmer’s beautiful daughter, so he proposed a bargain. He would forgive the farmer’s debt if he could marry the farmer’s daughter.
Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal, but the cunning moneylender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. The girl would have to reach in and pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble, she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven. If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail until the debt was paid.
They were standing on a pebble-strewn path in the farmer’s field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. The sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble. Now, imagine that you were the girl standing in the field. What would you have done? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities: (1) the girl could refuse to take a pebble–but her father would then be thrown in jail. (2) The girl could pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from debt and imprisonment. Or (3) the girl could pull out both black pebbles in the bag, expose the moneylender as a cheat, and likely incite his immediate revenge.

Here is what the girl did:
She put her hand into the money bag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path, where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles. “Oh, how clumsy of me,” she said. “But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.” Since the remaining pebble was black, it would have to be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the moneylender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl would have changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one. She simply applied wit in pursuit of a higher goal, that is saving her father.

Beloved in Christ, the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy, present us with quite interesting and surprising theme to reflect on: Applying wit in the pursuit of heavenly and ultimate goals. Just as we see in the introit story, the innocent and helpless girl used some wits, via mental sharpness, inventiveness and keen intelligence.
to defeat a villain and avert an impending family disasters.

In the Gospel reading, we see the parable of the dishonest, crooked, but resourceful, steward, which challenges us to use our blessings, time, talents, treasure wisely and justly so that they will serve us for our good in eternity

Here, it looks as if Jesus praises and endorses dishonesty. St. Augustine once said of today’s Gospel, “I can’t believe that this story came from the lips of our Lord;” simply because of the seeming complexities and paradoxes underneath the parable of the dishonest steward.

The projected dishonest and crooked steward was praised by his boss for his rascality because he acted with foresight. I simply see him as one trying to invest temporal goods to acquire eternal welfare. He was not interested in living for the moment. The future which he might not have much control over is quite important and of great concern to him.

Invariably, by making those deductions from his master’s debtors, he made “friends” with his master’s money and used these “friends” to secure a means of livelihood for the rapidly and certainly approaching point when he would be dismissed.

In that same vein, the First Reading from the Book of Amos warns against greed. The prophet speaks for the poor and the needy, while warning the rich and those at the corridors of power to apply wit in the use of earthly riches, inorder to accentuate heavenly goals.

*APPLYING WIT IN THE PURSUIT OF HIGHER GOALS*
One obvious theme of reflection in today’s liturgy is the need to invest temporal goods in the pursuit of higher goal. I think, this is the summary of Jesus’ use of such parable to teach us to set our eyes of heavenly and ultimate goals.

Hence as children of God, we must learn to invest temporal goods to acquire eternal welfare. Jesus reminds us that earthly resources will eventually run out. Hence, our material possessions should be used for the good of others, to cement friendships wherein lie the real and permanent values of life. This view, according to Fr K. Anthony, can be realized in two ways:

(a) In regard to eternity, it was a Jewish belief that charity given to the poor would stand to a man’s credit in the world to come. A man’s true wealth consisted, not in what he owned, but in what he gave away. The right use of wealth, according to Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, means helping the poor, the hungry, and the starving. That is the way that we make friends with God and please God according to this text.

(b) In regard to this world, a man can use his wealth not only to make life easier for himself, but also for his brothers and sisters. Perhaps he will fund building projects in his parish, offering scholarship grants for students or give to charitable organizations and missionary endeavors. We are on the right path if we are using our earthly wealth to attain our heavenly goal. “Money is an instrument that can buy everything but happiness and purchase a ticket to every place but Heaven.” Hence making money should not be the goal of our existence.

_*LIFE MESSAGES*_
(1) *WE MUST ALL RENDER ACCOUNT OF OUR STEWARDSHIP*
One vital lesson from today’s liturgy is the need to always be conscious of the day of reckoning. Hence we should realize that we are all stewards of what God has entrusted to us, so some day we will have to give Him an account of our stewardship. As we make preparations for all frivolities, we should asks ourselves, Do we care enough for our souls to get ourselves insured against life’s ultimate goal?

(2) *MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES.*
Wise people are those who know how to use their fortunes to improve their reputations and attain higher goals. The essence of our earthly riches is to use them to prepare for eternity. Anything less than that, is illusory.
Thus, making hay while the sun shines, simply means for a Christian, to seek God’s face now he can still be found, in repentance and reconciliation, through the Sacraments of the Church.

Finally, one morning in 1888, _Alfred Nobel_ , one of the world’s leading industrialists, opened a French newspaper and was shocked to see his own obituary. It was a mistake, of course; it was _Alfred’s_ brother who had died. However, Alfred Nobel had an opportunity to see himself as other people saw him. The obituary simply called him “The Dynamite King, the merchant of death is dead.” He had made a fortune in manufacturing and selling explosives, but it rankled with him to be thought only that way so Alfred Nobel decided to use his wealth to change his reputation. He immediately arranged his estate to establish the Nobel Prize, to be given each year to the person or persons who has done the most for the cause of world peace. In the past century, it has long been forgotten that the name Nobel once meant “The Dynamite King or Merchant of death.” Today the name stands synonymous with promoting world peace.

Beloved, indeed, wise people are those who know how to use their fortunes to improve their reputations.
We can finally ask ourselves, “How often do I use my Talents, Treasure and Time in improving others and facilitating growth in my community?”

*BENEDICTION* :
MAY GOD’S GRACE ENABLE US TO USE EARTHLY RICHES AND ACQUAINTANCES TO OBTAIN OUR ULTIMATE GOAL IN LIFE -SALVATION OF OUR SOULS.

*HAPPY SUNDAY!*
FR GERALD MUOKA

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