September 18, 2016

25th Sun., Ordinary Time

September 18, 2016:  Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Catechetical Sunday

  • 'Coin' tie bar:  Don't cheat the poor (1st reading); do befriend dishonest wealth (gospel)
  • Brown tie pin:  God raises the lowly from the dunghill (psalm)
  • 'Calculator' tie:  recomputing IOUs (gospel)
  • Silver color in accessories:  "We'll buy the lowly for silver..." (1st reading)
  • Sandals (not shown):  "And the poor for a pair of sandals;..." (1st reading)
  • 'Wheat' pin:  "...We'll even sell the refuse of the wheat!” (1st reading); debtor owes 100 kors of wheat (gospel)
  • 'OneLife LA' button:  "One God, one mediator, Christ Jesus" (2nd reading)
  • 'Hands' pin:  "Pray, lifting up holy hands..," (2nd reading)
  • Green shirt:  Ordinary Time season

For next Sunday:  Psalm 146:  Praise the Lord, my soul/ Celoni (just written)
Pope Francis
Angelus:  Pray for peace; we need it more than ever.  We, like Francis of Assisi, are called to testify to our commitment to peace and reconciliation between peoples.  This Tuesday, World Day of Prayer for Peace, join in the prayer.
The spirit of the world is not the spirit of Jesus.  While worldliness is manifested in attitudes of corruption, deception, and abuse of power, a Christian lifestyle is serious, but full of joy and committed to honesty, correctness, and respect for others.  We must respond to worldly cleverness with Christian astuteness, a gift of the Spirit.  In the face of widespread corruption, it's important to decide what direction to take.  When we seek to follow the gospel, we become artisans of justice and horizons of hope.
To Nuncios:  You're the link between the Successor of Peter and the local Churches, vital for the Church and the proclamation of God’s message.  Your humility passes through your love for country and Church.  Watching, analyzing, and reporting are necessary but not sufficient; you must meet, listen, talk, share, propose, and work together, showing love, sympathy, and empathy.
Don't criticize those with different opinions.  Your gaze must be far-reaching and deep.  Formation of consciences is a primary duty that requires delicacy and perseverance.  Be aware of the threats that attack, confuse, disrupt, disperse, and destroy the flock.  Complicit silence is threatening Middle East Christians.  Spend time with bishops, priests, religious, parishes, and institutions.  Make sure the Nunciature is the “Pope’s home,” where the Church can find support and advice and public authorities find a reference point.  Make sure it never becomes a refuge for friends.  Flee from gossip and careerism.
Don't be afraid to face complex issues and situations, but don't endorse political or ideological battles; the Church's permanence is based on loyalty to the Lord, not people's consent.  Enter into dialogue with everyone; be the voice of the marginalized.  May their cry become ours so together we may break the indifference barrier that hides hypocrisy and selfishness.  To accompany, you have to move.  Visit dioceses, religious institutes, parishes, and seminaries to understand how God’s people live and think and what they ask.
Express an outgoing Church, a "field hospital" of the local Church, country, or institution you're sent to.  May your service be my attentive and clear gaze on Church and world.  Today's challenges are great.  Be involved, and make mercy palpable.  Look ahead, not obsessed with the need for immediate results.  Speak confidently to people and institutions; clarity and mercy never detract from the beauty and the power of truth. 
The world is afraid, reads reality in the key of fear, and builds a world of walls and moats.  We can understand why but mustn't embrace it; "God gave us a spirit of power, love, and self-control."  Open doors; build bridges; make friendships; promote unity.  Never neglect prayer, especially adoration, the true source of your work.  Fear lives in the darkness of the past and is provisional.  The future is ours because it belongs to Christ!
  • Am 8:4-7  You who cheat and destroy the poor, the Lord won't forget!
  • Ps 113:1-2, 4-8 "Praise the Lord who lifts up the poor."  He raises up the lowly from the dunghill to seat them with princes.

  • 1 Tm 2:1-8  Pray, without anger, that everyone lead a tranquil life.  God wills everyone be saved and know truth.  There is one God, one mediator.
  • Lk 16:1-13  Master fires, calls to account property-squandering steward.  Steward reduces debtors' IOUs, commended for prudence.  Make friends, be trustworthy with dishonest wealth, others' property to be trusted with wealth, property.  As you're trustworthy/dishonest in small matters, so too in great ones.  You can't serve both God and mammon.”
    • Creighton:  Christians, Jews, and Muslims, all believe in one God, who creates and loves us and commands us to love and serve others.    Authentic religious practice enhances human life, but members of each religion have been, and are, guilty of atrocities.  2nd reading:  God wants everyone saved; Jesus gave his life for everyone.  1st reading condemns those who value observance of  covenant obligations over loving service.  "Unjust steward" gospel could be construed to reinforce identifying loving God with loving other:  steward reduced the debts to gain favor with the debtors; parable exhorts us to be shrewd in gaining favor with God.  "You can't serve both God and mammon" = serve God in neighbor?
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Are you saved?"  God became human and died on the cross so all could be saved.  To be saved, through faith and his mercy, for love, peace, community, freedom, victory and life, we must believe....
      Parable of the unjust steward/ Luyken
    • Passionist:  "I need to heed the 2nd reading and pray for our leaders, in thanksgiving!, to lead a quiet and tranquil life.  If I pray for them instead of complain and judge, I'd have more peace....
    •  "Who will entrust true riches to you?"  Jesus praised the manager who misused his employer's money.  The steward likely overcharged the tenants and kept more than his share of the profit. When the owner discovered his practice, he fired him, leaving him penniless and ashamed.  The steward struck a deal with the debtors, likely giving up his commission but winning their favor.  Since he was the owner's agent, the deal made the master look generous and forgiving and so praiseworthy.  The master, who couldn't rescind the discounts without losing face and making his debtors resent him, praised the steward for outwitting him and making him appear generous and merciful.  Jesus didn't praise dishonest behavior but shrewd foresight; he followed the parable with an exhortation to make use of the material goods to relieve those indebted to us.  Generous giving is connected with almsgiving. Those who receive alms become your friends because you show them mercy in their need, and God rewards you.
    We're all beggars of God:  "Whatever you possess, you're poor; you abound in temporal possessions but need things eternal.  You who listen to a beggar's needs are yourself a beggar of God.  What you do with those who beg from you is what God will do with you.  You're filled and empty.  Fill your neighbor from your fullness, so you may be filled from God's fullness" (Augustine, Sermon 56, 9).
    "We brought nothing into this world and we can't take anything out."  The Lord wants us to make good use of all he gives us.  How we invest now determines our eternal future.  The rabbis said, "The rich help the poor in this world, but the poor help the rich in the world to come."  Ambrose, commenting on the "rich fool" parable:  "The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns that last forever."  The lasting treasure is the one stored for us in heaven.  God rewards those who help those in need.
    What is the enemy of generosity? It's greed, the excessive desire for personal gain and security. True generosity enriches the giver, expands the soul. God gave us the best gifts:  his Son, the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, other blessings, all we have.
    Love of money and wealth crowd out love of God and neighbor.  If love of God doesn't possess us, some other love will.  The Lord, who alone can set us free from greed and possessiveness, satisfy our heart's desires, and transform us through the Spirit, invites us to make him our Master.  Lord, fill me with generosity and joy in sharing so I may allow your love to help me use what you've given me to benefit those in need.

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