Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 9:31 AM
Tues, Apr 17 Exploring our Catholic Faith "Allowing God to Transform our Pain" 6:30 in the church. Thurs Apr 19, 6 pm Frank Kelly returns with witness talk and healing service. Bring your friends!

9/18/16 Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Ron

Homily Summary for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time ~ Deacon Landry
The conflict between seeking to accumulate material wealth and the hope of eternal life in Heaven  is one of the most prevalent in Sacred Scripture and peaks during the ministry of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is easy to interpret the material and spiritual worlds as diametrically opposed—one can be left with the impression that to embrace one is to forsake the other. The final two verses following the parable in today's gospel unequivocally declare: "You cannot serve both God and mammon."
While it is customary for a parable to employ a twist to encourage deeper thought and reflection, this parable offers a number of challenges. First, the admonition that we need to act more shrewdly: "For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light." Then, the remarkably confusing suggestion that we "...make friends...with dishonest wealth." What on earth is dishonest wealth, and how is it that we are encouraged to do this counter-intuitive act? And to make matters worse, we are presented with this challenge: "If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?" So, apparently, not only must we take up dishonest wealth, but we can't hope to be trusted with true wealth unless we do. In conclusion, the phrase that one would hope clears it all up unfortunately not only appears to be counter to the actions praised by the master in the parable, but leaves us to question our very lifestyle.
As with all parables, concentrating critically on the literal details of the story may serve to only confuse rather than illuminate the actual message. What we need to do is focus on the lesson that this parable is meant to teach us. One of the prominent themes pervasive throughout Luke's gospel is the proper use of wealth. Far more importantly, however, is our relationship to wealth, and how it affects our relationship to others. 
Looking back at the parable, we witness the dishonest steward acts to help others and thereby establish a relationship of mutual benefit. He does this out of a sense of desperation, and his motives aren't entirely noble, considering that he’s cutting the debts that people owe his master, and not him. However, the dishonest steward has learned that money can be used to develop relationships, even if  out of mutual obligation. And so perhaps the master is commending him for this shrewdness, that he is able to use his financial savvy to make friends rather than enemies. 
Parables are used as catalysts for reflection and conversation. Interestingly, they do not necessarily supply us with an effortless and clear answer. Rather, we are persuaded to look more closely at the subject—often initiated by confusion over the curious nature of the parable—and in so doing explore critically the lesson that our Savior is trying to teach us. In other words, Jesus guides us to make the decision for ourselves.  
With all the negative connotations, and outright warnings in Sacred Scripture concerning the accumulation of material wealth, we are left struggling with just how to balance our lives here on earth with our hopes for eternal life in Heaven. First and foremost, is it inherently wrong to aspire to wealth in the first place? Note well that Luke's gospel is not warning us of the evils of wealth and declaring that we must choose either earthly riches or spiritual riches. Rather, he calls into question our relationship to wealth, and how that relationship affects our relationship to others.
The term "Mammon" is associated with the greedy pursuit of money or material wealth. Note that we are warned that we cannot "...serve both God and Mammon." And there, in a word, is expressed Luke's theme about our relationship with money. It is one thing to work hard to provide well for our families and ourselves so that we can enjoy a good life together. It is entirely another thing to get so caught up in the accumulation of material wealth that we enslave ourselves and in so doing sacrifice our spiritual wealth. 
Today's gospel message, as bewildering as it might initially be, becomes quite clear when informed by the teachings of our Savior Jesus Christ. The parable provides us not with the answer, but an inspiration to seek it. We are encouraged to reflect upon our focus in life, and the balance between the material and the spiritual. We must consider carefully our responsibility to those less fortunate than ourselves; what is our relationship with them? And what is the balance between our preparing our children for success spiritually as well as materially?
We have been given a great deal to reflect upon, and discuss with our loved ones. We are here today because we are people who are seeking the answers and endeavoring to do the right thing. "Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich."
 


 

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