YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (2)







YEAR C: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 25TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

TOPIC: STEWARDSHIP

BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

 

Gospel: Lk 16:1-13 – The Dishonest Steward

Message # 334: “I Am Forming You to Suffering”
(TO THE PRIESTS, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, Marian Movement of Priests)

 

  1. The Marian Message

a. The message of the Blessed Mother was on the occasion of the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15. The day before that, September 14, was the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Looking at Jesus on the cross, no one will miss another figure beneath it, and that is Mary, Our Lady of Sorrows.
b. The Seven Sorrows of Mary are: 1) the prophecy of Simeon; 2) the flight to Egypt; 3) the loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple; 4) the meeting of Jesus and Mary on the road to Calvary; 5) the crucifixion and death of Jesus; 6) the dead body of Jesus taken down from the cross; and 7) the burial of Jesus.
c. The Blessed Mother places herself as our example of total obedience to the will of the heavenly Father, even to the point of sufferings. That is why she is called the sorrowful Virgin, the Mother of suffering. (letters a, b, and c).
d. Mary is the Mother of Suffering because of her Son, Jesus. Since the start of his Incarnation in her womb, he already has undergone an endless series of sufferings for the salvation of mankind. Being the Mother of Jesus, “I formed, raised, followed, loved and offered my Son Jesus, as a gentle and meek victim, to the divine justice of the Father” (letter e).
e. Just as she is the Mother of Suffering on account of Jesus, she is also the Mother of Suffering on account of us all, her beloved children. She is with us on our side as our Mother, forming us, helping us and giving us comfort in our sufferings.
f. She is forming us to suffering. She does this by helping us say “yes” to the will of the Father that we join in the work of redemption of His Son Jesus (letter f). This means that we are invited to join in the sufferings of Jesus, just like what Mary did, for the salvation of mankind.
g. So Mary is helping us to suffer like her, and transform our sufferings into a “perfect gift of love” (letter h). This, therefore, means that we will have to practice docility, gentleness and humility. This further means that we will learn how to bear our crosses patiently and lovingly in order to offer ourselves to God and our neighbors with joy and true generosity.
h. Finally, the Blessed Mother assures us of her motherly presence, especially in our moments of sufferings, just like when she was present beneath the cross while Jesus was dying. “Today, when sufferings are increasing from all sides, everyone will become aware, in an ever stronger way, of the presence of your heavenly Mother” (letter i)

 

  1. The Sunday Readings

a) The first reading from the Book of the Prophet Amos is a condemnation of the fraud and dishonesty of those who oppress and take advantage of the poor. The Lord made an oath through the prophet: “Never will I forget a thing they have done.”
b) The Responsorial Psalm is a song of praise to God “who lifts up the poor”. This is an assurance to the poor that God will raise them up from their misery and “seat them with the princes of his own people.”
c) The second reading is St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy. He asks, that “supplications, petitions and thanksgiving 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 appeal is for the community to enjoy peace, unity and harmony. “It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.”
d) The Gospel is the parable of the dishonest steward. Jesus praised the dishonest steward, not because of his dishonesty, but “for acting prudently.” He used his power and influence to gain loyal friends. Jesus advised: “Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” The emphasis here is on making friends, not on dishonesty. The Lord simply wants us to realize that everything in this world is passing away. So, we make use of these worldly things in order for us to gain eternal life. We serve God, not money. We use money to serve God.
e) The general theme of the readings is about the proper use of material things. Let us never make the mistake of using these things to take advantage of other people, especially the poor. That is the message of the first reading and the Psalm. The Lord will surely take note of any injustice we do against the poor. This is a strong warning against those who use other people in order to gain more money and wealth. Instead, we are reminded that we should maintain unity and harmony among us. It is a mistake to divide the community between the rich and the poor, and make them enemies. Both the rich and the poor are children of God. This is the message of St. Paul. That is why, the Gospel gives us the proper attitude towards riches: they are meant to be used in order to gain lasting friendships – with each other and especially with God. Using improperly the goods of this earth because of selfishness and greed is what causes all the troubles in this world. The Blessed Mother is Our Lady of Sorrows. She continues to suffer because of her children’s unwillingness to listen to her Son, Jesus. Unfortunately, many have chosen to serve and worship money, and not God.

 

  1. Points for Reflection

a) Hard work and prudence. Jesus praised the dishonest steward, not because of his dishonesty, but “for acting prudently” – “for the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.” We want to go to heaven. But how much time do we spend in prayer? We want to invest heavenly riches. But how generous are we in sharing our blessings? If we compare ourselves with the worldly people, we will be embarrassed. They want to get rich. So, they work really hard to get the results they need. Look at the work ethics of the rich people – they wake up early and work all day long until late at night, and they seldom take vacations. Look at the athletes. They want to win the gold medal. So they sacrifice a lot, watch their diet and spend long hours of hard training every day. Look at the criminal syndicates. They make serious plans. They devote lots of time studying every single aspect of their plan. And they are ready to face all risks just to get rich quickly. The Lord, therefore, reminds us that we are not just after worldly wealth that soon passes away. We are after eternal life and happiness. We should be more hardworking, more prudent, courageous and patient than the worldly people. Unfortunately, when it comes to money, we are serious and hardworking; when it comes to the true and lasting riches in heaven, we just take it easy.
b) Stewardship and trustworthiness. All the things in this world belong to God. He is the absolute owner. We are only His stewards or managers of these worldly goods. As good managers, we ought to follow the wishes of the true owner – God. So we have to administer these good according to His will, namely, to use them, not mainly for ourselves, but to help others. They are neither meant to be hoarded, nor to be worshipped. We worship God, and use material things, and not the other way around. If we are unable to do this, then we become untrustworthy stewards. Let us always check our attitude toward material things.
c) Let us also examine the way we relate to God. There are many Christians who pray, not because they are ready to follow His will, but mostly because they are asking for material favor. If they do not need anything from God, they seldom see the need to pray. This means, therefore, that they are only using God. This is an abomination that many people are not aware of.

d) “When money talks, the truth is silent.” Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” Nowadays, truth is silent because people consider money as more important than anything else. This is why Pope John Paul II said: “The greatest misfortune of this age is that people consider money as the highest good.” They do everything, by hook or by crook, to have more money. This is the cause of so much trouble in our society. And when the truth is silenced because people are bought by money, then freedom is also lost, and subsequently, even human dignity is lost. In short, when people serve mammon, and not God, they become slaves, without freedom and dignity. If people serve God, they live in true freedom and sublime dignity as inheritors of His kingdom. Consequently, life in society becomes more peaceful and harmonious. Only obedience to God, and not money, is the way to peace, happiness and true prosperity.

e) The dishonest steward knew that his time as manager is about to end. So he took advantage of the remaining time in his position to gain loyal friends by doing big favors for them. So when he was laid off from work, he had friends who helped him. Jesus praised him for doing this. We should have the same attitude. We are the dishonest stewards, because many times we use God’s blessings for our selfish interests, and we do not follow His will regarding their use. We also know that our life in this world is limited, that we will all die and eventually leave this world. But many of us act foolishly. We go on with our life as if we are not going to die. We are wasting precious time and opportunities to gain friends and invest heavenly treasures. God understands if we have been dishonest with Him; He is always ready to forgive us if we seek His pardon. But He could not understand why, despite the fact that we know of the certainty of death, we still do not make use of His blessings wisely for our spiritual advantage.

 

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