Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I










Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: The right use of material things

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

Homily for Saturday November 6 2021

Lk 16:9-15

I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 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. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? 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 God and mammon.”
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and sneered at him. And he said to them, “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”

In the Gospel today, the Lord teaches a lesson on the right use of material things. Basically, Jesus wants to remind everyone that all material things come from God, and, therefore, must be used according to His design and will. This applies even to the wealth gained through dishonest means: “Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” This is precisely what the dishonest manager in the parable did in yesterday’s Gospel.

It must be made clear, however, that Jesus is not encouraging dishonesty, nor does He imply that the end justifies the means. He is simply saying that all material things have only one purpose, that is, to help us become ‘friends’ of God. Certainly, all these things will fail and disappear. Hence, they must be put to good use, so that when that eventuality comes, “you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

Then, Jesus goes on to remind everyone that the real Master of everything is God, and not money or mammon. Mammon is used here as if it were itself a god. We belong wholly to God. We should not live a double life with one part of it allocated to God and another part to our materialistic and selfish concerns: “No servant can serve two masters.”

Serving God should be our main and sole concern in life. Hence, being enslaved to riches is definitely incompatible with our life as disciples. To be dependent upon wealth is opposed to the teachings of Jesus about complete dependence on the heavenly Father.
Jesus makes sure that the Pharisees, “who loved money”, hear this teaching. They are examples of those who are enslaved to wealth and money due to their attachment to material things. And consequently, they cannot truly serve God. The words of Jesus directly hit them. So, to defend and justify themselves before the people, they mock and make fun of what He is saying.

But Jesus is not perturbed by their reaction. He does not mind what they say, for He is not after human praise and esteem, which is an “abomination in the sight of God.” His only concern is to obey and please the heavenly Father.

Pope John Paul I, when he was still the Patriarch of Venice, has a story related to this point:

The master of the house has a good cook, John. Outside the kitchen door were the dogs. One day, he slaughtered a young cow, and threw the entrails into the yard. The dogs quickly jumped on them and ate them all. They profusely praised the cook: “John is a good cook! He cooks well!” Sometime later, John was peeling onions and removing the shells of peanuts, and threw the husks into the yard. The dogs rushed toward them, but were disappointed. Sniffing scornfully, they said, “John is a bad and worthless cook.” John, however, was not upset by this opinion. He said, “It is the master who must eat and enjoy my meals, not the dogs. The master’s appreciation is enough for me.” (F. Fernandez, In Conversation with God, v.5, p.412).

As followers of Christ, our Master is not money, not people, not the world, nor anything else. God alone is our Master. Hence , our life should be totally dedicated to His service. Our main and sole desire is to always please Him to the best of our ability. What other people may say about us should not concern or bother us as long as we faithfully serve our Master.

This is clearly exemplified by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her entire life is wholly focused on serving God, calling herself the “Handmaid of the Lord”. Let us ask her to teach us how to live entirely for the glory of God.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches




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