Daily Email

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

September 19, 2010

I like this parable of the clever but unjust steward as an illustration of the manner in which they are to be inventive about their quest for salvation. It strikes me that Jesus is really living in the world and is not giving his disciples a pious, otherworldly answer to their problems. Their problems are of this world and they are therefore to use the secular resources of this world for solutions. One's faith life ought not to be much different from one's secular life. Don't we just live one integrated life? Of course, Jesus would prefer that the rich man's steward not be unjust at all in the management of his boss's affairs, but he applauds the way that he is able to bring some good out of a confronting dilemma. He realizes the probable diminishment of his status and knows that he is not able to survive well in a reduced position. His existence is on the line. He could have walked away or faced harsh consequences, but he decides to make sweet lemonade out of sour lemons. Jesus admires his ingenuity and resourcefulness.

The reading from Amos shows us the struggles that the prophet had in convincing God to be patient with the unruly Israelites because they were intent on cheating, cutting corners, and being unjust stewards. Amos has been speaking up in defense of the poor, but he has recently been charged not to speak anymore though he knows the Word of God is inside him and he cannot restrain himself from speaking. The Lord God says he will remember the social injustices done to others and Amos just cannot remain silent. Good for him! Those who are in authority are blatantly reckless in their responsibility to do the right thing. In Paul's letter to Timothy, the church is asked to pray for those in authority so that they can be sources of wisdom and right actions. One's accountability for one's morally conscientious actions will lead to a life where others find no fault in him or her. Life is then enjoyed and one can delight in the blessings of good relationships.

It seems that all these readings somehow touch on the reliably prudent use of authority in matters of governance. Managing well is challenging work and those in authority are subject to strict scrutiny if their intentions are not seen to be noble or for the care of the common good. The question that is posed to us is 'what do we do if we see someone act unjustly?' We realize we have a lot at stake and can suffer deleterious consequences if we speak up or act, but what type of world are we building if we refuse to give voice to serious injustice? Too often fear is used to intimidate, bully, silence or threaten those who are inclined to speak up - even from some of our religious leaders. What are we to do? Fight back? Withhold money? Be silenced? Or walk away? That is the question Jesus poses. He applauds the unjust steward for acting cleverly and for diligently seeking for solutions that work well in the secular world. How much more will Jesus affirm your good actions - the actions of good and caring people - if we learn to harness our own authority to seek to do what is right and good. Imagine the possibilities. Wouldn't it be an exciting adventure upon which to embark? Use your intelligence and your power to bring about the world we desire to create together with our Lord.

Quote for the Week

From Irenaeus of Lyons

The glory of God is the human being fully alive and the human being fully alive is the person in Christ.

Themes for this Week’s Masses

First Reading: Proverbs instructs a young person setting out in life to do good to others at all times as the curse of the Lord is on the wicked. The young person ought to respect the Lord and his truthful words. The preacher Ecclesiastes, also included as Wisdom literature, reminds the person that all things in life are passing so we ought to treat each created thing with due relevance. The cyclical nature of the world will take care of itself; we are to remind ourselves that we cannot change the cycle of life and death. Remember your Creator and let your heart be glad as you follow the ways of your heart.

Gospel: Jesus lifts up the crowd by telling them that they are life a light that cannot be concealed. After honoring Matthew, we return to Jesus who calls the Twelve together and gives them authority over demons, the ability to heal, and to preach the kingdom of God. When Herod the tetrarch hears about the event around Jesus, he is mystified at the possible identity of Jesus. Jesus call out from his disciples their belief about his identity as he asks, "Who do you say I am?" He then prophesies about his Passion. The disciples fail to comprehend the fate of Jesus.

Saints of the Week

Monday: Andrew Kim Taegon, priest, Paul Chong Hasang, and companions were martyrs in Korea in the 19th century. Christianity took hold in the country during the 1600's through French missionaries. Persecutions began in the mid-19th century when over 10,000 people were killed. Andrew Kim was the first Korean-born priest; Paul Chong was a Korean layman, over 100 priests, clergy, and lay people were killed in the violence.

Tuesday: Matthew, the Evangelist, is celebrated for his role in writing down the accounts of the life of Jesus, which he took mostly from Mark's account. Many people conflate the life of the evangelist with the disciple Matthew, but it is unlikely that the two are the same people. Matthew addressed his words to Jewish-Christians that were familiar with the Old Testament and he asks them to accept the Gentile Christians into the mission. For Matthew, Jesus is the fulfillment of Judaism as well as one who initiates a new way of relating to God.

Thursday: Pio of Pietrelcina, priest, is known to most as Padre Pio, a Capuchin Friar who received the stigmata just as Francis of Assisi did. He began prayer groups in 1920 that continue to meet today totaling over 400,000 people. He helped people by hearing confessions, providing spiritual advice, and was a prayer intercessor for many.

This Week in Jesuit History

• Sep 19, 1715. At Quebec, the death of Fr. Louis Andre, who for 45 years labored in the missions of Canada amid incredible hardships, often living on acorns, a kind of moss, and the rind of fruits.
• Sep 20, 1990. The first-ever Congregation of Provincials met at Loyola, Spain, on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the approval of the Society and 500th anniversary of the birth of St Ignatius.
• Sep 21, 1557. At Salamanca, Melchior Cano wrote to Charles V's confessor, accusing the Jesuits of being heretics in disguise.
• Sep 22, 1774. The death of Pope Clement XIV, worn out with suffering and grief because of the suppression of the Society. False stories had been circulated that he was poisoned by the Jesuits.
• Sep 23, 1869. Woodstock College of the Sacred Heart opened. With 17 priests, 44 scholastics, and 16 brothers it was the largest Jesuit community in the United States at the time.
• Sep 24, 1566. The first Jesuits entered the continental United States at Florida. Pedro Martinez and others, while attempting to land, were driven back by the natives, and forced to make for the island of Tatacuran. He was killed there three weeks later.
• Sep 25, 1617. The death of Francisco Suarez. He wrote 24 volumes on philosophy and theology. As a novice he was found to be very dull, but one of his directors suggested that he ask our Lady's help. He subsequently became a person of prodigious talent.

Papal Visit to Britain

Blessings to the people of Britain and to Pope Benedict XVI during the Papal visit. May he pastorally restore the confidence of the people and assist them to joyfully live their faith during a time of complex social and moral realities. As church, may the people and the religious leaders learn from each other about the ways to build a church responsive to their lived experiences of faith. We have so much to gain!

No comments:

Post a Comment