By: Rev Fr Stephen Dayo Osinkoya



First Reading: Amos 8:4-7
Psalms 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8
Second Reading: First Timothy 2:1-8
Gospel: Luke 16:1-13

Today is the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Each of the Scripture Readings of today makes a separate, but related, point: In the First Reading from the prophet Amos, we are reminded that God is a God of justice who remembers the poor who have been taken advantage of and mistreated.

It may be difficult for us to imagine ourselves being directly involved in the oppression of the poor and the needy and probably we are not. But the attitudes that lead to such oppression, however, can easily become part of our lives. In the first reading, it is clear that the oppressors are those who want to have money and would do whatever it takes to have it. We live in a society where everybody believes “Owo ni koko” (Money is the essence), because people believe with money comes power. When we begin to think in this way we slowly begin to put the value of money as more important than the value of sharing what we have with others.

In the Second Reading St. Paul writing to Timothy speaks of the prayers and petitions we must make to God so that his justice and truth prevail in the world. God is not indifferent to this world, but judges us on the basis of our behaviour here and now. When we pray for our society and those in positions of authority, St. Paul makes us to understand that it is for our own good, because, we are always going to be at the receiving end of the positive or the negative effect of their leadership. It is only when our society is safe that we can be safe as Christians.

The Gospel Reading emphasizes that we must be efficient in our use of this world´s goods and dedicated to the life of the spirit if we are going to prevail and persevere. The parable speaks about stewardship, while each of the sayings is about money or faithfulness, they don’t really intend to interpret the parable itself. But each stands alone in making a comment or truth. The lesson intended by Jesus is simply that we should be as enterprising about our future in God’s Kingdom as was the shrewd steward about his future. Jesus obviously told this story not to encourage dishonesty but to draw attention to the foresight of the steward.

Jesus concludes the parable with the saying, “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”
The dishonest steward is not presented to us as a model for integrity. But his shrewdness and tenacity are worthy of imitation in our service of God’s Kingdom. For as Jesus had observed, while the manager was shrewd and tenacious in assuring his future, ‘the children of light’ were not so in the pursuit of their heavenly security. Jesus is thus challenging his followers to be as shrewd in carrying out God’s work. We need to have our wits about us, and think clearly.

“Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth.”
Now here comes the difficult passage, “And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.” Through these words, Jesus is saying that we are to convert material wealth into heavenly capital by sharing them with the poor and needy. Indeed, there is only one honest and prudent way of using material goods: helping the poor. To make friends by means of worldly wealth requires one to perform acts of charity by helping the needy with physical items such as food, clothing, shelter, employment, etc. Those who have been helped will remember their donors and welcome them into their eternal homes.

“If you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?”
Next, Jesus wants us to be trustworthy, beginning with small things, “He 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….” Trustworthiness in small things leads to a greater trust in the realm of physical stewardship as well as spiritual realities. Jesus further says, “If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” An enterprising kingdom stewardship entails prudent use of wealth, day-to-day fidelity and trustworthiness in the management of earthly goods, and putting absolute priority on the spiritual reality over material goods. Thus the absolute need to develop the habit of honesty.

“No servant can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
A fourth saying of the Lord is a challenge, “No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and mammon.” This is one of the better known quotes from the Bible. God and money do not go together. We have to have our priorities right. Making money takes second place to pleasing God. We have to acquire wealth through moral and legal means, not through cheating or oppressing others. If the means by which we acquire wealth is displeasing to God, then we are making money more important than God. We know of some people who have made money their god. No question about it, money is important. Moreover, money in itself is not evil. It is our attitude towards it and how we use it that can lead to evil. Thus Jesus is asking us to set our priorities right, namely, that God and not money should occupy first place in our lives. In short, one must choose: God or the god Money. It is impossible to serve both at once. No compromise may be made between them. One is faced with unavoidable choice.

The gospel today poses a wiser and more helpful question.  It asks us, “This week, how much of your time and your talent and your money are you willing to give to the cause of others?”

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