HOMILY FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: WE ARE INVITED TO BE RESPONSIBLE STEWARDS
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18 2022
(Amos 8:4-7, 1 Timothy2:1-8, Luke 16:1-13)
The gap between the rich and the poor in our society is wide, largely due to the unequal distribution of earthly goods. There is a tendency for some wealthy to amass more wealth without much care for those who are unprivileged. Along the way, the “have-nots” continue to wallow in poverty, while the “haves” accrue more and more wealth, thereby sustaining the imbalance between those who have and those who do not have.
We are all stewards of what we possess. Our stewardship is actually broader than just taking care of what we have. It also touches on taking care of the people around us. Stewardship is a God-given responsibility. God entrusts us with privileged positions and statuses so that we can become a blessing to others. Responsible stewardship is to use the wealth and the positions that we have for the good of others. Thus, there is always something we can do to bridge the widening gap. Our generosity and altruism in the administration of earthly goods can help us bridge the gap. When we do this, we become responsible stewards. At the end of time, we shall stand before our Just Judge, God the Father, to give an account of how we administered what he gave us.
Jesus, in the gospel, gives us the parable of a dishonest and ‘shrewd’ steward. It doesn’t matter what one has, what matters is the way one can administer what is under their care. Some people become dishonest even in little things, how can they be entrusted with greater things? So asks Jesus. He is addressing the Pharisees who are in love with wealth. They want to have more and more, at the expense of the poor in the community. The richer they become, the poorer others become. We too are pharisaic as long as we are not moved by the poverty of others. We are not the ultimate owners of what we have. We are only a channel through which God wants to bless others. God wants us to change the life of another person with what he has given us. The gap we see in our society is not natural. It will take responsible stewardship to bridge it.
The prophet Amos, in the first reading, is prophesying against those of us who step on the poor. We become wealthy by cheating and stealing from those who are struggling even to find a little. We are irresponsible stewards because all we think about are our interests. Some of us are in positions of power and seats of great influence in society. The prophet challenges us to be charitable towards the underprivileged. Instead of using our strength as a tool for afflicting the poor, we can use it to emancipate them from their poverty. Those who amass wealth, especially using corruption, make money their god. Jesus says, “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” Now to serve only God is to direct what we have towards others in the spirit of charity.
Leaders in public service have an even bigger responsibility to be stewards of the people. Jesus asks us to be good stewards by being present to the sufferings of our people. Integrity, honesty, prudence, humility and accountability are the cardinal elements that define good stewardship. If leaders cannot exercise these virtues, then they become oppressors of their people. They become predators, feeding on the little that is left of the poor. At the end of time, just like everybody else, they too will stand before God to give an account of their stewardship.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY
Fr. Arthur Ntembula