SUNDAY of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time
Our Gospel selection for this Twenty-Fifth Sunday of the year can be a difficult one to figure out. It would appear in reading it the first time that somehow Jesus is praising the shrewd business manager for ripping off his master to save his own hide after the master fires him for being inadequate. Unfortunately for many larcenists, this is not really the case.
Jesus is not praising the shrewd business man for his actions. Rather, I believe the point of this Gospel is that Jesus is telling us he wants equal time! He wants equal effort from us. He wants us to work as hard at the spiritual side of our lives as we do for the temporal side. We all work very hard to insure our own security and enjoyment in life from the point of view of possessions and money. Jesus is asking us to put as much effort into the matters of the soul and its security as we do for our temporal security. The well-known words of Scripture come to mind here: What does it profit a man or woman if they gain the whole world and suffer the loss of their own soul?
Most people in the active workforce work at least 40 hours a week. The workaholic can work as many as 80 hours a week! How many hours a week do we pray? I’m not trying to turn this issue into a tit for tat game! Just trying to make the point that I believe the Gospel for this Sunday is trying to make. We spend an hour a week going to church to praise the Lord and thank him for his blessings and think we are doing more than our “duty.” C’mon!! All work and no prayer makes Jack what?
Jesus is asking us in this Gospel to weigh our priorities. What is more important in life? We should take the time somewhere along the line to make a list of them. What is numero uno in my life? My wife and children, my work, golf, softball, money in the bank, a big car, what? And just where does God fit into this list?
Listing our priorities, discussing them with the rest of the family, with others, with God, is not a bad idea.
MONDAY of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel, Jesus has just finished telling his followers they are the light of the world. Then he tells us, “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lamp stand so that those who enter may see the light.” We have spoken of the symbol of light many times and will speak of it many times more. Remember, it is a symbol; it causes what it symbolizes. We are light and we are to cause light just as Jesus was light and caused light with his words and works. This amounts to being a force that makes the world a better place.
God has given all of us lights, gifts and talents with which to make a difference in this world, to raise the level of human consciousness. Today’s Gospel presents us with the opportunity to reflect on how well we are doing this.
TUESDAY of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel selection follows immediately after yesterday’s and reinforces the fact that we are the light of the world and must let our light shine. Jesus says, “My Mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Or to paraphrase: Those who are in a relationship with me, who let their light shine, who use their gifts and talents, these are my mother, my brothers.
Relationship implies a certain amount of unity. If we are in relationship with Jesus, we will be in agreement with him, one with him. We will listen to his word, we will keep in touch with him through prayer, we will change to his way of doing things when our way is not his way. Then we will be effective in being light; we will truly be his followers.
WEDNESDAY of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time
One day in the hear 1209, as Francis of Assisi was nearing the end of his period of conversion from the rich son of Pietro Bernardoni to the poverello of Jesus Christ, he entered the chapel of the Portiuncula to attend morning Mass. The Gospel proclaimed by the priest at this Mass was the same one we read for this Wednesday. “Take nothing for the journey, neither walking stick, nor sack, nor food, nor money, and let no one take a second tunic.” When Francis heard these words, he cried out, “This is what I want; this is what I desire with all my heart.” And immediately he shed his clothes for a rough tunic and secured it around his waist with a piece of rope. All of the sudden, Francis was a Friar Minor. This Gospel was just what Francis of Assisi was looking for, just what he needed to hear. It opened the way for him to a life of peace, serenity and happiness in the Lord.
How did this Gospel make me feel when I heard it read this morning at Mass or read it myself at home?
THURSDAY of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time
Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul
Today the Church celebrates the Memorial of St. Vincent de Paul, one of the more familiar saints on the Church calendar. Vincent was born of poor parents in Gascony, France, about 1580. He went to a school run by the Franciscan Friars. He was a fine student, and in 1596 he entered the seminary at the University of Toulouse and was ordained a priest in 1600. In 1605, while on a sea voyage, he was taken prisoner by pirates and carried as a slave to Tunis. After two years, he managed to escape and returned to France. In 1625 he founded the Congregation of the Missions also called the Lazarists, so named from the Priory of St. Lazarus where they began to live in 1633.
Charity toward all, particularly the poor, was Vincent’s predominant virtue. He also was the founder of the Sisters of Charity and is known as the Apostle of Charity. He died at age 80 in Paris. He is the patron saint of all charitable societies. Perhaps you have a St. Vincent de Paul Society in your parish? They very quietly help many, many needy people.
St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
FRIDAY of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time
“But who do you say that I am?”
Each of us must answer in our own way this question professed by Christ to Peter in today’s Gospel passage. Peter responded, “The Christ of God.” We learn from another Gospel that this had been revealed to Peter by the Father. Peter’s answer was an answer of faith. And this is where we will find our own answer to Christ’s question, in encountering Jesus through faith and surrender.
I truly believe today that Jesus is the Christ of God after I have encountered him in the events and happenings and trials of my life. I came to this belief mainly by working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, particularly through the surrender of Step 3: Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him. Through his grace, I was able to let go with both hands from time to time and it was when I did this that I learned of his power and goodness in my life.
Where do you find your answer to Jesus’ question to his disciples in today’s Gospel?
SATURDAY of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time
Today’s feast celebrates three of the seven Archangels of God: Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. Angels are pure spirits created by God. They are met in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible as ministers of God’s will. The English word, “angel,” comes from the Greek angelos, which means messenger. The Hebrew word for angel is malak, from which the Prophet Malachi took his name. He himself was a messenger and prophesied about the coming of Jesus our Savior (Malachi 3:1).
God’s messengers work for him and for the benefit of us all. The Archangels mentioned in our feast today appear many times in the Bible. See if you can find one or the other of these appearances and read about one or all of these angels today.
Angels of God, be with us in all our endeavors.