Gospel Reflection for the 25th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – September 22nd 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
FIRST READING: Amos 8:4-7
Listen to this, you who trample on the needy
and try to suppress the poor people of the country,
you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over
so that we can sell our corn,
and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?
Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel,
by swindling and tampering with the scales,
we can buy up the poor for money,
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.’
The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob,
‘Never will I forget a single thing you have done’
GOSPEL: Luke 16:1-13
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”
Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty”. To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty”.
‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.’
‘And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?
‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’
Isn’t it still the same as the first reading has it? The poor get the worst of things, and are cheated. It’s quite contemporary. About greed and fooling the poor; raising the shekel – like raising the exchange rate so that the poorer countries get less dollars for their kwacha and rupees. Golden handshakes for people whose greed is palpable and whose attitudes have left so many people hard up. Money well protected and taxes avoided if not evaded. Our waste of food could feed so many. People are poor not through their own fault but because they are neglected.
On the Side of the Poor
How many of the poorer schools are less well off with special assistants taken away. Hospital care going worse as people wait for ages for treatment. Mostly the poor will first suffer from economic mishap. God hates this – he hates mistreatment of his people. Jesus raged against the exploitation of the poor. The church is on the side of the poor, as was Jesus in his life.
We pay tribute to the people who work for the poor and needy – in the parish; in diocesan and other social agencies, and our volunteers at home and abroad
Not always easy. We want to get ahead, to better ourselves. At least let’s not do so at a cost of others.
The call to the church is to care as Jesus cared; we need the harsh words of the first reading sometimes to waken us up, and the story of Jesus to make sure we don’t sleep again.
Pope Francis said in May 2013: if investments in banks, drop a little , it’s a tragedy! But if people are starving, if they have nothing to eat, if they are not healthy, it does not matter! This is our crisis today!
Donal Neary SJ