Scripture Reflection - September 18, 2016

25th Sunday ~ Ordinary Time

Amos 8:4-7 1 Timothy 2:1-8 Luke 16:1-13

The Scripture reading for this Sunday enjoins  us to reflect on our stewardship of money and material things and our relationship with the poor and marginalized.  In the first reading from Amos the poor are victimized by corruption described as trampling upon the heads of the needy, destroying the poor of the land, fixing the scales for cheating, selling rotten grain and food, convicting the poor for debts, buying and selling people for money.  It calls forth the promise of the Lord, “…never will I forget a thing they have done…”  In our day, the inequitable sharing of the world’s resources that contributes significantly to world tensions calls forth an equal promise from the Lord.

The second reading from Paul to Timothy draws us into a bond of prayer for others.  Paul implores us to pray for everyone, Kings, Rulers, Leaders and all those in charge, “…so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in godliness and dignity…”  It makes good sense to exhort prayers for the powerful, for the very order of the world is influenced by them.  It is a call for us in this political season to pray for those who would be our leaders no matter our feelings toward them and our political leanings.  Our present day challenge is to support legitimate authority, respect the different points of view and seek to work together to make a just society.

The gospel of the unjust steward speaks of the theme of stewardship. It begins with a rich man calling his steward before him to inform him that he will be relieved of his duties for mismanaging his master’s resources.  The steward is being released for mismanagement, not fraud.  This explains why he is able to conclude a few more transactions before he is released.  Realizing he will soon be without a job, the steward, to enhance his security when he is unemployed, makes deals behind his master’s back by reducing the debt owed by several of the master’s debtors.  When the master becomes aware of what the steward has done, he commends him for his astuteness.  It is puzzling but we can conclude that those dedicated to worldly pursuits are often more wholehearted in their projects than believers are in promoting the things of God.

We are entrusted with the kingdom of God, the kingdom of love, justice and peace.  As followers of Jesus equipped with the truth of faith and empowered by the Spirit that dwells within us, it is our business is to bring about the reign of God.  At the end of life’s journey we will be asked to render an account of how we have invested and used our gifts and talents in living and spreading the gospel message.  Are we investing our resources to gain the only thing that matters in the end: the Kingdom of God?

Sister Margaret Flood, O.P.

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