25th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sept 18, 2022



Mr. Smith goes to see his supervisor in the front office.

“Boss,” he says, “we’re doing some heavy-duty house-cleaning at home tomorrow, and my wife needs me to help clean out the attic, the basement, and the garage, moving and hauling stuff around. Can you give me the day off?”

“We’re short-handed as it is, Smith,” replies the boss.  “I can’t give you the day off.”

“Thanks, so much, Sir!”  says Mr. Smith.  “I knew I could count on you!” 

Mr. Smith didn’t’ want to do the work that he knew his wife expected of him and successfully found a way to avoid it.  Our gospel for today challenges us to see whether we too, like Mr. Smith, try to shirk our responsibilities toward God and one another, particularly when it comes to using some of our financial resources to help better another persons’ life or to advance the Kingdom of God.

Today’s gospel from Luke, following last weekend’s parable of the Prodigal Son, highlights once more, the dangers of using wealth in the wrong way.   Used selfishly, money can run the risk of isolating ourselves from others and may make us preoccupied about its management and the potential dishonesty of others to whom we may have entrusted some authority to investing it on our behalf.   Wealth isn’t something to be avoided, though.   Far from it.  Financial wealth and stability are good things.   Yet, if we’re spending a lot of time worried about the ups and downs of the stock market….if we’re consistently afraid of our property values diminishing….if we’re overly concerned about how our mutual funds are progressing, then we run the risk of perhaps forgetting to tend to the more important things in life, such as our significant relationships with God and with those whom we love in a special way.



To diminish this risk, the Jesus that Luke presents to us wants us to view wealth as a kind of grace, as sprinkles on top of an ice cream cone, as a vehicle to enhance the beauty and the joy of living on this earth with one another.   Like God, those with wealth are called to lavishly sprinkle their many blessings upon the underprivileged, even if, at times, we may think they’re undeserving of them.    The point is not to judge their failures, but to help pick them up to start again.  Wealth, used in this way, fosters a more dignified human life for all and helps to bring us closer to the final vision of the Kingdom of God.

We heard in our gospel that the rich man demands an accounting from the dishonest manager, having heard that his monies and property were being squandered away.   We ourselves may sympathize with the rich man in this regard.  How dare the manager use the authority given to him to risk the wealth of the rich man.   Indeed, the rich man may have thought he was doing something good, by giving the manager a job.  And instead of being grateful, the manager exploits his position for his own benefit.

Do we ever feel that way?   Do we ever feel taken advantage of by someone?   Do we ever think that their actions demonstrate an ingratitude and lack of respect for us?   Certainly many of us may have felt this way, from time to time.

And while it’s important to hold others accountable for the tasks entrusted to them, we ourselves must recall the multitude of blessings we’ve been given from others and the mistakes we’ve sometimes also made.   Such recollections invite us to be agents of God’s mercy rather than God’s judgment.  Undoubtedly, the manage was a poor man.  The gospel tells us he was too ashamed to beg and not strong enough to dig. (paraphrased from Lk 16:3)  This might have been the only job he could get, that paid him–  just enough for he and his family to eek out a meager existence.  Perhaps such circumstances caused him to act in a way he wasn’t proud of.

There are, sadly, many persons in this predicament, even today.   Just look at the hundreds of thousands of people flooding the US boarder with Mexico, seeking a better life for their families and a government free of corruption.  Just look at the many homeless walking the streets of downtown Sudbury.   These are the ones whom Amos, in our first reading, calls the poor.   Amos says that exploiting them in their moment of need is tantamount to treating God in the same way.

We may be thinking…..well it’s a good thing that I’m not wealthy!  Are we so sure about that?  You see, Jesus doesn’t consider wealth to just be monetary.  He sees it in terms of the many ways  in which God has blessed our lives.   Each of us here is indeed rich in so many ways!   Are we citizens of Canada?   Do we have a student or a work permit to live here?  Do we have a spouse?  Children?  Grandchildren?   Do we have a job?  Do we have benefits with the job?  Do we have a retirement package?  RRSPs?   TFSA’s?  Do we have friends? Co-workers?   Parishioners we look forward to seeing every week?    Do we have a significant other on which we can depend?  Do we have a pet?  A car?  Are we able to see, speak, listen and walk?   Can we sing on pitch?  Can we read music or play a musical instrument?  Have we been blessed with an education?  Can we speak or read many different languages?  Have we been on vacation?   Do we look forward to the next one?  If our answer to any of these questions was YES, then we’re indeed wealthy in ways that others are not.

Are we being faithful with what God has given us or are we selfishly squandering it away?  A good way to remind ourselves of our wealth is to write down ten things we’re most grateful for and then placing it on our fridge, where we can look at it every day.  Let it serve as a reminder of the ways and means we have been given to make this world a better place not just for ourselves but for those who are sorely in need of help.

It’s easy to put ourselves in the position of the rich man.  But how about putting ourselves in the place of the dishonest manager.  At times, we may be more like him than we’d like to admit.   Like that man, we must remember that God will one day call, each of us, to an accounting of what he’s entrusted to us.   We don’t know when that day or time will come, so we must be ready at all times for that accounting.   The only way of doing that, is by remaining faithful to our Master, 24/7.  The only way to do that is by being generous with what we’ve been given!   The only way to do that is to see, in the less fortunate, a call from Christ to be his loving and merciful presence in a sinful world.

To motivate us in this regard, we should find some time to stand before our crucified Lord and to reflect on the ultimate price Christ paid for our salvation —shedding every drop of his Most Precious Blood to redeem us— and enduring the shame and the ridicule and the taunts of those who doubted that God could love anyone that much.

When we do that, perhaps we’ll come to see that we have a little of the rich man and the dishonest manager in ourselves.   And perhaps then, we can also receive the grace to get back on track recommitting ourselves to serving God as our one and only Master, and to using that which God has given us for his greater glory and the extension of his reign.



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