Homily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: ABJURE INJUSTICE AND OPPRESSION OF THE POOR; ACQUIESCE TO CHARITY AND WISDOM
By: Rev. Fr. Jacob Aondover ATSU
Homily for Sunday September 22 2019
READINGS: AMOS 8:4-7, PSALM 113, 1TIMOTHY 2:1-8, LUKE 16:1-13
• The oppressed look to him and are glad; they are never disappointed. The helpless (poor) call to him and he answers (Ps. 34:5-6)
• The Lord watches over the righteous and hears their cries, but he opposes those who do evil (Ps. 34:15-16).
• The Lord hears the cries of the needy and does not despise his imprisoned people (Ps. 69:33).
• The Lord swears NEVER to forget the evil deeds of those who oppress the poor (Amos 8:7).
My brothers and sisters in Christ, that we have compartmentalized our lives is a statement of fact. That we go through life like a TV where with a remote, we select the various channels and viewing them differently, dissociate one activity from the other is so true. All too often, instead of operating integrally, we choose to function in bit and pieces. While at work, we forget religion and spirituality; while schooling, we cut off our social side, when we do politics and business, we are less moral and just. When we seek pleasure, we damn virtue. As we go about our day to day activities, struggling to make ends meet, we relegate eternity from the frontiers of our minds to the dust of our feet. The liturgy of the word today condemns this attitude in the most radical way possible, urging us never to lose sight of our goal – eternal life, even as we do business, politics, socialize and search for knowledge.
We can audibly hear Jesus saying to us in Luke 16:1-13; ‘eternity is indispensable, my children, use all you have (knowledge and wealth alike) to earn it’. Besides, we must struggle not to follow the example of those crooked merchants who hated the Sabbath just because it affected their earnings (Amos 8:4-7). For these people, life was all about business hence nothing should be an obstacle, not even the day of the Lord. Friends in Christ, we must allow our faith permeate all the facets of our life and putting him first before everything, never compartmentalize our lives. Simply put we must be ‘Christian’ in our jobs, business, family, stewardship, leadership and so on. Everything we do should aim at glorifying the Lord.
We must abhor the vices of injustice, extortion, deceit, cheating, avarice and unnecessary hoarding of material possessions and wealth by shortchanging people. We must dread the injustices committed against the poor, for when they cry, God necessarily hears and acts upon it. We ought to dread idolatry and embrace the right attitude towards the worship of God and respect for the days of worship. The condemnation Amos leveled against the Israelites of old and the subsequent calamity that befell them 25 years after his death is still apt in our day and will also befall us if we do not change our crooked ways. We may be wise enough to remember that the Lord himself says “Surely I will never forget any of their (our) deeds” (Amos 8:7).
Today more than ever, we experience a steady rise in the wealth of the rich whilst the poor grow terribly poorer. The business man, of this age uses every means possible to maximize profit: he inflates the price of goods arbitrarily, sells fake products (even medicine) for high rates, cheats and extorts money from his customers, most of whom are poor. There are merchants today too who buy goods from poor farmers at very bizarre prices only to resell at hyped costs. We have land owners who accelerate their rents without any consideration for the tenants. Employers abound who despite their huge salaries ‘steal’ from the little earnings of their workers. Injustice is sadly prevalent in our society and the poor are always victims. Today’s workers are denied their pay, contracts awarded for the common good of all are often times not executed and public funds are comfortably siphoned into private pockets. Indeed ours is a generation most deserving of the condemnation of the prophet Amos. God is patiently watching and waiting on us to change before he executes his justice.
Dear friends in Christ, rather than let the things of this world block our path to eternity; we are called to use them as ladder rungs, enhancing our steady climb towards heaven. Jesus would want us to use the same amount of energy and ingenuity we put in pursuing earthly glories (which will pass away) in searching for the kingdom. There was this popular saying among the Rabbis; ‘The rich help the poor in this world but the poor help the rich in the world to come’, and St. Ambrose once said, ‘The bosoms of the poor, the houses of the widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever.’ For the traditional Jew, charity done to the poor would stand to a person’s credit in the next word. Jesus aware of all these, used this parable (Lk. 16:1-13), challenging us to use our wealth to seek heaven through charity.
May we be wise in our quest for wealth so that we may not fall prey to avarice and go on trampling on the poor through acts of cheating and extortion hence avoid God’s wrath. Amen.
FEED AND EDUCATE THE POOR