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092519 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 135

 

  • How often have we been told by the world that we can have it all
  • A wildly successful career, a perfect family, endless recreational activities, extraordinary community involvement, you name it… It’s all there for the taking
  • If you find it impossible to “Have it all” in your life – Don’t worry – Because it’s all a lie
  • No one can have it all – Life is always about choices, and about finding balance
  • Every time we open a new door, we close several others behind us… You can only walk through one door at a time in life
  • We’re each called to make hard choices in order to maintain balance in our lives; and this is what Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel when He says: “No servant can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.”

 

  • If we don’t really know who we are, and what we’re about - We can get off course very easily in this life…
  • And this can happen when we let our personal agendas, our ambitions, and our plans override that still small voice within us, that is our conscience
  • Our conscience doesn’t demand blind obedience; it doesn’t preclude us asking questions, and it doesn’t stifle our life goals
  • It merely asks that we be attentive to our hearts
  • That we be attentive to the Spirit working within us that helps us to distinguish right from wrong…
  • And we know that this isn’t easy… Because while we try to be attentive to the voice of conscience; the voice of our ego is shouting in our other ear; telling us to “ignore our hearts,” and advising us to be “Street smart” like the servant in today’s gospel…”
  • And it’s in these times of conflicting voices that we’re called to choose
  • This is when our faith and our values are tested…
  • And this is when we’re called to make choices that will affect not only our lives, but the lives of those around us as well
  • This is when Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel should echo within us… “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
  • It’s the choices that we make each day which form our legacy…
  • It’s the choices that we make each day that determine our destiny…
  • Someone once observed that: “It’s not our abilities that show who we truly are… It’s our choices.”

 

  • In today’s Gospel… the steward is clearly cheating his master when he negotiates new deals with his master’s debtors…
  • After his master commends him for acting prudently, Jesus adds the following: "For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”
  • The world teaches us to be sly, to be cunning to be no one’s fool
  • Jesus teaches us to be true… to be transparent… to be authentic
  • What motivates us to believe that we must bend and tug at our values in order to survive? 
  • Is it not a fear of scarcity... a false belief that there’s only so much to go around? 
  • Fear is our real enemy in the spiritual life… 
  • We are a people afraid of being abandoned... 
  • We are a people afraid of being left behind… 
  • When we fail to see others as human beings, when we fail to see our similarities and instead focus on our differences, we can justify almost any behavior that suits us… 
  • Faith is the glue that holds us together when fear is trying to rip us apart... 
  • Fear is ever present, but so is grace... 
  • What we choose to focus upon is entirely up to us... 
  • The words of David’s son Qoheleth in Ecclesiastes (1:9-10) ring as true today as when they were written approximately three centuries before Christ: “Nothing is new under the sun.  Even the thing of which we say ‘See, this is new!’ has already existed in the ages that preceded us.”...
  • Human nature hasn’t changed over the centuries... This is why the wisdom of the scriptures has endured…
  • We fool ourselves when we think that we have advanced...  Greed, (driven by fear), is an ever present danger facing all of us...
  • Greed corrupts the soul and ultimately leads to a fall...
  • Greed can take many forms, and greed can never be satisfied... but there is a cure… 
  • It’s called humility… 
  • Humility forces us to face the truth of our existence… 
  • It forces us to admit that we’re not God... that were not all powerful, and that we’re ultimately dependent upon each other…
  • It’s very easy to become captivated by the world’s values…  To begin to believe that this is all there is
  • To begin to accumulate the things of this world as if we’ll be here forever
  • But the reality that we must all face, is that our lives on this earth are finite… And that this is not our true home
  • Humility helps us see the truth not only in ourselves, but in the world around us…
  • The servant was given a chance to face the truth of his existence... he was given a chance to humble himself and admit his errors…
  • But instead he chose to continue to manipulate others for his advantage… 
  • The secret to making good decisions is to discipline ourselves to consider the impact of our decisions on others not just ourselves...
  • We must always consider the greater good in every decision we make...
  • We fool no one but ourselves when we try to “bend the rules,” or “gain advantage” over someone… Because Jesus sees our heartsand our hearts can never lie

 

  • Could any of us really ask for more than what St. Paul wrote to Timothy in today’s second reading: “…that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.  This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.”
  • What really matters when our lives are over is what we leave behind
  • We’re not talking about money or possessions… we’re talking about our legacy
  • We’re talking about who we were and how we lived our life
  • We’re talking about how our life impacted others…
  • People will not remember us for our wealth, or our possessions, or our position in societythey’ll remember us for how our life touched theirs
  • I still remember how people reacted when someone retired from my workplace… 
  • When some people retired their fellow workers would often lament how much they would miss them… while when others retired… many would simply say: “Thank God!”

 

  • What will our legacy be when we’re one day called home?

 

  • Brennan Manning wrote: “For Jesus, it was more vital to be an honest, genuine human being than a model Jew.  Fidelity for Jesus meant a total immersion in life to discover both His humanity and (His) Divinity…” Manning goes on to say: “A Life of integrity has prophetic clout, even among skeptics and unbelievers.”  (A Glimpse of Jesus – The Stranger to Self-Hatred; Pgs. 118-119.)

 

 

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