Homily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: Keep Judgment in View
By: Fr. Evaristus Okeke
Homily for Sunday September 22 2019
1st Reading: Amos 8:4-7; Ps.113; 2nd Reading: 1Tim.2:1-8; Gospel: Luke 16:1-13
Material possessions have no moral value attached to them but the acquisition and use of them have moral characters; that is, material things are useful but they cannot be said to be good or bad because they are inanimate objects. It is the manner in which they are acquired and in which they are used that can be said to be good or bad. Today’s liturgy centers on the right acquisition and use of material things.
In the first reading, Prophet Amos condemned the attitude of the rich who see their wealth as weapon for oppression and humiliation. The oppression of the poor is one of the sins that cry to God for vengeances. God never ceases to come to the aid of the oppressed. Hence, at the end of the first reading, the Lord sworn: “Surely will I never forget any of their deeds’. God did not create anyone less human neither is the dignity of man dependent on what he owns.
The gospel acclamation tells us that though Jesus Christ was rich, for our sake he became poor so that by his poverty, we might become rich. Jesus understands what it is to be poor because he himself experienced poverty. No one responds better to a predicament than one who has once suffered from it.
In the gospel reading Jesus gave an expensive parable. The parable is expensive in that He used the action of a dishonest steward to teach us how to be wise with material possessions. From the beginning of the parable, we are already told that the steward was dishonest. For this reason, the master is bringing him to judgment. The thought of approaching judgment brought this steward to his senses on the right use of material things.
He sent for the master’s debtors and asked them to rewrite their bills. In rewriting their bills, he was not trying to please the debtors at the expense of his master, rather he was removing the commission that was placed on the capital. The commission would have been to his own interest. So, while keeping his master’s capital intact, he sacrifices his commission for the sake of future favours from the debtors. It is this foresight and decisiveness that the master praised and termed “prudence”. The steward will not be praised as prudent if what he forgave was not his own.
Thus, the message of Christ here is that we must have the foresight to understand that material possessions, in the final analysis, are vanities. Now that we have them, the wise thing to do is not to insist on keeping them but to use them to better the lives of others so that at the last day (judgment), we may have admittance into eternal habitations. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that there are four last things: death, judgment, heaven and hell. Keeping these in mind is true wisdom because it will guide us against greed and arrogance.
When we define wealth as the possession of material things, those who lack them (the poor), may begin to see themselves as having nothing to give out but having everything to receive. The second reading corrects this notion. We all have something to give; we all are wealthy in one way or the other; and so, we all can be guilty of the wrong use of wealth.
St. Paul tells us that one wealth we can and should always give is prayer. We have the duty to pray for one another. When you realize that you are more privileged than others, rather than oppress the poor (as we find in the first reading), do well to pray for them. When you realize that you have not made the mistakes that some persons (including those in position of authorities) have made, rather than gossip about them, assassinating their character the more, pray for them.
To pray for someone is to intercede for the person. This is not only towards God. Whenever you connect someone to a helper, you have interceded for such person. We may not have what our neigbhour needs, but if we fail to link him or her to someone we know can help, we are not different from those who use their wealth to ridicule the poor. It is unwise to derive pleasure or sense of worth from seeing the lack of others. If the poverty of others reminds us of how rich we are, then we are foolish; but if the poverty of others reminds us of the helper we must become, then we are wise. From the parable of the ten virgins in Matt.25:1-13, we come to understand that the cause of foolishness is lack of foresight and the consequence is loss of admission into the kingdom of heaven. When you get home today, give yourself a gift of reading Proverb chapter 4. *God Bless You!*
Fr. Evaristus Okeke