YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: GOD OF JUSTICE
BY: Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
HOMILY: Today’s first reading is taken from the Prophet Amos 8:4-7, in which God will judge unfair business practices and injustice to the poor. God will judge them because poverty is not always caused by a lack of economic resources; it is often a result of discrimination or social injustice that prevents people from accessing tools, resources and education they need to improve their situation.
Amos concern is the nature of God, the role of the individual, and the role of the social system that causes poverty, discrimination and oppression.
For Amos, individuals ought to behave in a certain way toward each other. The Lord expects justice first of all because he has created mankind on the earth. He can expect certain standards of conduct to be upheld by all.
The figure of God as judge dominates the book of Amos, though the Lord is not viewed as a judge without mercy. At the very core of the message, the Lord holds out hope for any who will forsake evil and follow the good he desires.
He sends his prophets and his punishments in an effort to stimulate repentance. The justice of God may demand judgment for wrongdoing, but his mercy searches for every conceivable way to bring about a stay of execution.
The individual aspects of this social evil can be easily discerned in Amos’s preaching. He presents his listeners with concrete images of those who tamper with scales, violate the slave girl who should be treated like a member of the family, or make exorbitant demands that cannot be met.
The individual merchants and wealthy landowners are dishonest and greedy for more money and power. If they would turn back to the Law of the Lord and meet his requirements, they would be righteous and merciful in imitation of him.
The Law of Moses was given not merely for individuals to know right from wrong, but also to set up a social structure that would have a potential to express the Lord’s character.
Amos was particularly concerned because he could see the social system set up by the Lord disintegrating. Amos begins with the justice of God, then, and shows how that relates to justice in society.
The religious institutions as Amos was familiar with them should also be examined in relation to social justice. Amos preaches that the Lord provided justice for all Israel when he brought them up from Egypt and gave them the land of the Amorites.
The second reading is from St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy 2:1-8, Paul tells Timothy that prayer for those in authority that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness, even if we don’t like the way things are going in our government.
Paul affirmed that our first responsibility as believers before we ever utter a request or a complaint regarding others — before we utter anything else at all — is to enter the presence of God and get our own attitudes and thoughts right before him.
Then with clear hearts we can receive his thoughts and know his ways in the place of prayer. When our own attitudes are corrected and realigned, it usually changes the way we pray concerning others, because our words reflect the Father’s heart instead of our own personal preference or opinions.
Everything must be surrendered to God and the power of his Spirit before anything else is spoken to Him in prayer.
So before you start griping about a political leader — or anyone else for that matter! — first take time to think of reasons you can be thankful regarding that person. This will change your tone and make you more effective in prayer. And rest assured — God will appreciate your change of attitude!
The Gospel is from St. Luke 16:1-13, in which Jesus tells a parable about a dishonest steward who is commended for his prudence; one cannot serve both God and money. These words of Christ warning those who would follow him on the road to heaven not to become the slaves of earthly things are applicable to all of us.
In this parable the characters are all wicked—the steward and the man whose possessions he manages are both unsavory characters. This should alert us to the fact that Jesus is not exhorting us to emulate the behavior of the characters but is trying to expound on a larger principle.
The parable begins with a rich man calling his steward before him to inform him that he will be relieving him of his duties for mismanaging his master’s resources. The steward had authority over all of the master’s resources and could transact business in his name. This requires the utmost level of trust in the steward.
The steward is being released for apparent mismanagement, not fraud. This explains why he is able to conduct a few more transactions before he is released and why he is not immediately tossed out on the street or executed.
The steward, realizing that he will soon be without a job, makes some shrewd deals behind his master’s back by reducing the debt owed by several of the master’s debtors in exchange for shelter when he is eventually put out. When the master becomes aware of what the wicked servant had done, he commends him for his “shrewdness.”
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ