Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
When we listen to the scriptures at liturgy, there is kind of an unspoken idea that we will hear something amazing and uplifting, that will stir our hearts into flame and make us better Catholics, better Christians, better people, as we carry the Living Word of God out in our lives. So how surprising is it when we get a day like today, when so much seems to run counter to our expectations? Amos warns us about cheating and taking away someone’s rights. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he explains we must pray for everyone, no matter what we think of them, even if they are in a place of power and authority. And Jesus’ praise of the “children of this world” in today’s Gospel passage is really disconcerting!
JUSTICE FOR ALL
When we grasp a better understanding of Amos, it really is a mirror of the Gospel message that we must be good stewards and offer kindness and justice to all. Remember that Jesus is in the midst of speaking through a series of parables. (We left off with the Prodigal Son last week.) When he is speaking of the steward, he is not telling us to get into money laundering or get-rich-quick schemes or engage in multi-level marketing. Rather, we can infer that we are to use our goods and our skills wisely and for the betterment of everyone. In the parable the steward is praised for his quick thinking and for finding a way to resolve the situation. The parable ends with Jesus telling us “You cannot serve God and mammon” and you must make a choice.
EVERYTHING IS A CHOICE
The Gospel parable tells us what the steward did one time to get out of a bind. But we are called to make the right choice, the best choice over and over. Sometimes it is hard. You may not be choosing between good and evil, but sometimes even have to choose between two goods. We frequently have to make choices like, “Do I spend this extra time at work to get that promotion? Do I bring the work home with me? Or am I able to leave it there and be with my family when I am done?” Parents often have to look at their savings account before they determine which activities they can afford for their children to participate in. Music and sports and the arts are wonderful, but all require special equipment and time. But making a sacrifice on everybody’s part might reap great rewards. Sometimes, though, the choice is made to just get food on the table, or to clothe the family. We learn to make the choices that are best for ourselves and are decisions we can live with. We learn to discern what is best for those we love.