Saturday, September 17, 2016

September 18, 2016: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time C

September 18, 2016: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time C
Click to hear audio homily

A crisis sometimes brings the best out of us as well as the worst out of us. The past month, we have been hearing incredible, inspiring human stories as well as treacherous stories of people preying upon the vulnerable. One lady said of her experience on the night of the flooding, "About 10:30 Sunday evening, when we had a foot and a half of water in the street, two young men who looked like they were barely out of their teens showed up at my door and loaded me, my husband,15 cats, three dogs and a rabbit to the Celtic Media Center." There was no monetary reward for these young men, but in that crisis, they were prompted by something greater than the need for money to brave the water to save people.

“Enterprising” is a word that can be both positive and negative. It means showing initiative and resourcefulness. The manager or the steward in the gospel could be described as “enterprising.” When his employer found out that he was engaging in dishonest business deals, he faced unemployment. He quickly used his managerial skills to provide for his future by winning over his employer’s debtors with apparent generosity. This steward wasted the resources that he had through the use of his conniving and cheating with others in the business world. His love for money determined his course of conduct and he exercised corrupt authority and power with it. We need to reflect on these few verses about our involvement with money, trust, and integrity. As Our Lord reminds us,
No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.

Can we describe Mother Teresa as “enterprising”? It just doesn’t sound right does it? She didn’t use her gifts and talents to benefit herself. She put all her gifts and resourcefulness toward serving the Lord and the poor. When she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, she asked if they would cancel the banquet for 135 persons to be held in honor. She asked that the $7,000 cost of the banquet be sent to her mission in Calcutta where it would feed 400 people for a full year. When she accepted the prize, she didn’t accept it for her honor. Instead she accepted it, “in the name of the hungry, of the naked, of the homeless, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society.”

I heard a catchy song online, and the lyrics are:
I don't know why, know why
Everybody wanna die rich
Diamonds, champagne, newest of the new planes
Work your way down that list.
We try, everybody tries
Tries to fit into that ditch
You can't take it with you when you go
Never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch

Mother Teresa’s initiative and resourcefulness teaches us about how we should live our life here on earth. We are called by God to use our material goods in a way that will help us as we stand face to face with God on judgment day. Everyone here on earth is an administrator of God’s goods; we are not the owner. Therefore, what we have is temporary and all that we accumulate means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Instead, what we are is permanent. What happens inside will remain and grow in us and bear fruit in the eternal life in heaven.

When we consider our life only in terms of economics of accumulation, we will not care about the most needy—the poor, the sick, the disabled, the elderly. True Christian life rises above economic considerations. Out of love for Christ,  and through Him, we utilize our gifts to serve our fellow man, who in God’s eyes is equal to us. Like the steward, we too will have to give an account of our actions and how we put to use God’s goods to further His Kingdom on earth. Let us earnestly pray, as did Mother Teresa, not to be tempted to use our gifts toward building a sand castle here on earth but a castle in heaven.

Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. Amen.