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09/18/16 Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 135
•    The steward’s actions in today’s Gospel were certainly prudent in the eyes of the world, but his motives, were insincere... 
•    The world would commend the steward for his cleverness, as did his master… 
•    In the world’s eyes - He took a bad situation and used it to his advantage… 
•    But God doesn’t ask us to be clever… He asks us to be trustworthy…
•    Today’s society might describe the steward as “Street Smart…” but Jesus doesn’t ask us to be street smart... He asks us to be sincere...
•    Judging merely on appearances, it might look as if the steward had turned over a new leaf… but in his heart; he hadn’t changed… He was still serving himself…
•    The world sees and judges only our external actions… But Jesus sees our Hearts…
•    What we do in the unseen portions of our lives is just as important, if not more important, than what the world sees…
•    Jesus sees our innermost motives, and desires… He understands us better than we understand ourselves…
•    We read in the Gospel of Luke: “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” (LK 12:2)
•    Jesus sees our Hearts...
•    Jesus goes on to say: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.”
•    We’re called to be trustworthy… but what does it mean to be trustworthy?
•    Being trustworthy means being dependable… being reliable… and being faithful… 
•    It means being ‘transparent’ with others... and especially with God… No hidden agendas, and no false masks…
•    Although trustworthiness may be ‘touted’ as a ‘value’ in today’s society – Faithfulness, (Which is an integral part of being trustworthy), is not always a valued commodity… Primarily because of all the “baggage" that it brings with it…
o    Faithfulness requires conviction to certain values that are non-negotiable…
o    Faithfulness requires courage to maintain those values and standards when everyone around us is telling us to abandon them…
o    Faithfulness requires determination and love to remain true to ourselves and to our beliefs…
o    Faithfulness requires commitment...
o    Faithfulness requires selflessness…
o    In Short - Faithfulness requires Faith… 
•    St. Teresa of Calcutta used to say, that… “God doesn’t ask us to be successful, He asks us to be faithful.”
•    Our faithfulness can take many forms… But first and foremost we’re called to be faithful to our commitments: To our families, to our marriages, to our work, to our friends, to our beliefs - Faithful in all ways and in all things…
•    We’re called to be totally trustworthy and totally dependable… Not just on the surface… but also in our hearts…
•    We fool no one but ourselves when we try to “bend the rules,” or “gain advantage” over someone… or try to “manipulate” someone to do our will … Because Jesus sees our hearts… and our hearts can never lie…
•    Jesus tells us: “No servant can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
•    Jesus isn’t telling us that money or worldly goods are evil...What He’s telling us, is that “unbridled devotion” to these things, at the expense of our integrity and our commitments, is evil...
•    He’s essentially telling us that we can’t always have our cake and eat it too – That we can’t always please the world & ourselves… and also please God...
•    We’re often forced by circumstances to make choices in life... which demonstrate where our treasure lies...
•    Jesus is telling us that we must “choose wisely”... That we must choose our loyalties carefully...
•    Someone once observed that: “It’s not our abilities that show who we truly are… It’s our choices.”
•    Our actions, particularly under difficult circumstances, tell us a lot about where our treasure lies...
•    What’s really important to us can often become painfully apparent, when we honestly examine our lives... 
•    This is what an Examination of Conscience is all about – To help us see, (with God’s Grace), into our hearts, as Jesus sees...
•    And through His Grace, we’re often made aware of times and circumstances in our lives when our treasure wasn’t what we thought it was... when it wasn’t what it should have been...
•    Through this examination, we’re often made aware of actions and decisions that we need to take to Reconciliation and ask for God’s forgiveness...
•    In the end, it’s the quality of our character that matters to Jesus – Not the results that we’ve achieved...
•    We will not be judged by what we’ve accomplished, we’ll be judged by what’s in our hearts…
 

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