Time to Take Action

(September 22, 2019)

Bottom line: Now is the time take action. "No servant can serve two masters...You cannot serve both God and mammon."

Today we have a puzzling Gospel: A master says to his steward, "Prepare a full account of your stewardship". The dishonest steward then commits fraud. Instead of sending him to jail, the master praises him: He "commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently." What's going on?

Well, to understand this parable we have to step back and see what preceded it. Jesus has been addressing the biggest question: eternal life. Do you remember when they ask Jesus "Will only a few people be saved"? Jesus replies, "enter through the narrow gate". Jesus later tells us we cannot be his disciples if we love parent, spouse or child more than him. Finally last Sunday Jesus tells three parables about redemption: the lost coin, the lost sheep and and the lost son. We are lost and we need to be found.

We are in a high stakes game. The stakes in fact could not be higher. But you know, most people say, "ho hum, that will wait, I've got more important business."

They are like the ones Amos describes in the first reading. They ask "When will the new moon be over...and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat?" So anxious to get back to business, they chafe at the sabbath observances. Today of course many people don't even realize there is a sabbath - a day dedicated to the Lord. They barely think about God. For sure most don't deliberately reject God. They ignore him. They think that even if he does exist, he doesn't matter.

In face of this apathy Jesus tells a parable meant to deliberately shock. It's about a steward - a kind of financial administrator - who's about to lose his job. He's too weak for manual labor, too ashamed to beg. So he does something desperate. "I know what Is shall do," he says, "that when I am removed from stewardship, they may welcome me into their home." He cook the books, reducing a few people's debts. He hopes that when the master puts him out, somebody will remember what he did and take him in.

It's crazy. But the master praises him. Why? Because he takes action. He assesses his situation, realizes he could lose everything and so he acts.

That's the situation you and I are in. We can only enter through the narrow gate. Jesus says it clearly, "You cannot serve both God and mammon." Mammon means money and the stuff money can buy.

A couple weeks ago Jesus said that to be his disciple we have to renounce our possessions. This means everything we possess we place at Jesus' disposition - like the early Christians did in the Acts of Apostles. This becomes harder as we get older because we have more stuff.

We won't have it long. When multi-billionaire John Rockefeller died someone asked his accountant, "How much did he leave?" The accountant answered bluntly, "All of it."

So will you and I. Despite great medical advances the mortality rate is still 100%. Jesus says, "make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so when it fails you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings". Now is the time take action. "No servant can serve two masters...You cannot serve both God and mammon." Amen


Homily: Boots Laced Week 1 - How to Get Started (Sept 18, 2016) (Audio homily for 25th Sunday, Year C 2016)

Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for Twenty-Fifth Sunday, Year C):

2016: Boots Laced Week 1: Small Things with Great Love
2013: Geography of Faith: The Promised Land
2010: That Dishonest Steward
2007: The Best of a Bad Situation
2004: Is the Pope Naive?
2001: A Response to Terrorism
1998: Purpose of Money

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
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Fr. Michael White
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Bishop Robert Barron

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