HOMILY FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME OF THE YEAR C
THEME: GOD MUST BE PUT AHEAD OF MONEY
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18 2022
(AMOS 8:4-7,1 TIMOTHY 2:1-8; LUKE 16:1-13)
This twenty fifth Sunday the teachings on detachment and apostleship continues but extends to the management of human resources. The Church enjoins us to reflect on our attitude towards money, material things and our relationship with the poor and marginalized and how smart the things of this world could help us make heaven. If there is anything that has perpetuated poverty all over the world, it is injustice and inequality in the social class. Seven hundred and fifty years before Christ, Israel was enjoying a time of great financial and material prosperity. In the prosperity they lost focus on God. They resented interruption in what they considered most important in life- making money.
Hence, Amos a shepherd from the southern Kingdom of Judah was sent to the northern kingdom of Israel. In today’s first reading he decries the injustices meted out against the poor of the land. The same situation menaces us today. If we look around, we see poverty and the poor all around us. Sometimes the excuse we give to exonerate ourselves from the injustice they suffer is that “they are lazy and not hard working!” I do not buy this opinion completely. Rather, most of them are where they are because of our greed and selfishness. We capitalize on their weaknesses and carte away what belongs to us and them.
Amassing money and wealth for ourselves without using them to help those in need only amounts to shear greed and stupidity which profits nothing. It equally amounts to mere love of money and material things over and above God and our neighbours. This leads to idolatry because they become the only source of one’s happiness (pleasure). Therefore, Paul implores us to pray for everyone especially our Leaders and all those In-charge. This prayer is necessary for conversion because, once we are converted, we eschew corruption, injustice, greed, and oppression of the poor from our system. The truth is that there is only one God, and we all are children of this one God. Once we understand this then, selfishness and egocentrism will disappear. We shall begin to consider the common interest and good of all.
Today’s Gospel sounds puzzling to contemporary readers, but it can be made less so by considering the economic system which stands behind the parable. Remember it is called the parable of the unjust or shrewd steward and this is simply because he is not serving the interests of his employer. In response the steward, in an attempt to ensure favour for himself among the boss’s debtors, brokers repayment of the man’s loans by foregoing the interest and fees that had been levied to line the steward’s pockets. It is this action, in which the steward puts aside his greed and takes the longer perspective in order to enhance his security, that is commended.
It is probably difficult for us to imagine ourselves being directly involved in oppressing the poor and the needy and probably we are not. The attitudes that lead to such oppression, however, can easily become part of our lives. In the first reading, it is clear that the oppressors are those who want to have money. Our whole culture seems to tell us that we should have money and power. We can begin to think in this way and slowly begin to put that value of money as more important than the value of sharing what we have with others.
My brothers and sister, the mother church exhorts us to be prudent about the use of wealth. We should handle the affairs of temporal life with an eye towards eternal life. If we handle money and other passing things responsibly, then we can also be trusted with the affairs of the Kingdom of God. No one can serve two masters simultaneously; God must be put ahead of money.
God bless you!