25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – September 22, 2019

25C19.   Amos 8:4-7.      Amos bemoans the fact that the well-to-do could follow the Law on one hand but on the other behaved like the devil in the way they mistreated the poor and those who could not defend themselves.  However, the Lord promises just retribution when he says through Amos: “Never will I forget a thing they have done.”

Luke 16:1-13.  In this parable the rich man dismisses his wasteful, squandering steward.  In considering his options the steward shrewdly and ruthlessly develops a plan to provide for his future at the expense of his master.   The parable continues, saying, “And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.”  The word ‘prudently’ in this case means that he cunningly calculated what he needed to do to turn things around to his advantage. The parable continues by saying, “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”  What I think Jesus is saying is that the children of darkness are more diligent, industrious and sophisticated in promoting their dishonesty that the children of light in promoting their Lord and Master.  Jesus goes on to make it clear that we must first be worthy of his trust in us by doing well with the small things he gives us.  The ‘true wealth‘ that Jesus refers to, that we will be entrusted with, is his life in us, his dwelling within us, that will make us fruitful in bringing others to him.  Jesus continues by saying: “No one can serve two masters,” meaning that we must be wholly devoted to one or to the other.  He goes on: “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”  Life in this world challenges us day after day. To whom do we belong: the material, the flesh, self-centeredness or God, the spiritual, self- surrender.  Paul in 1 Timothy 6:9-10 wrote, “Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is the root of all evils.”  The center and love of our lives must be God, for he is the one and only God, and from our love for him must flow all our other loves.  Jesus said in Matthew 6: 20-21: “But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”

1 Timothy 2:1-8.   In offering “supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings” we are implicitly saying that it is God upon whom we depend for any and all of goodness in this world.  Then Paul gives a short and concise creed to establish the hub or center around which everything turns: For there is one God.  There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all.”  This is the truth that Paul was commissioned to speak.  Paul continues, “It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.”  Paul is asserting that, if we want anything truly good in our lives, we must go to God in pray.