If you are looking at a particular sermon and it is removed it is because it has been updated.

For example Year C 2010 is being replaced week by week with Year C 2013, and so on.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

25th Sunday Year C 2019

 25th. Sunday of Year (C)

(Amos 8:4-7; 1st. Letter to Timothy: 2:1-8; Saint Luke 16:1-13)

Dear People of God, there must be something of very great importance for us to understand in today’s Gospel reading because Our Lord is here presented as approving what was apparently quite wrong!

And that is precisely the point!  Our Blessed Lord wanted to shock His hearers and us, His present-day disciples and children of Mother Church, into not just hearing His words, but listening to His teaching, so as to ultimately appreciate and follow His advice:

Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Look around you, dear People of God, at the vast majority of people so infected by lust for pleasure, power, and plenty; who, worshipping Mammon, deny there is any Personal God, and mock at the very idea of man having a moral conscience any broader, any deeper, than mere legality; people who can contemplate making public their secret abominations, not indeed to confess their sins but because they are confidently seeking the public sympathy of fellow sinners and the token acceptance of the many who know-not-what as regards morality other than that which is politically correct and popularly acceptable. They ‘staunchly’ regard themselves as people of principle despite being answerable only to whoever pays their wages and the state which enables them live in safety and enjoy spending those wages:

The children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.

But alas, despite such native ‘prudence’, too many – including some spectacularly successful ‘idols’ in the sight of men, as well as many other abused and disabused youngsters and druggies more or less unknown to men – having no hope for eternal life, are finding it increasingly comforting to regard suicide as an available opt-out when things go wrong, or ‘pear-shaped’ in more modern terminology!

Let us therefore see what we can find in Jesus’ teaching, for, He comes to help those even at life’s extremity, where the devil and his counter-creation can only whisper about that opt-out, which actually means total surrender of one’s human dignity to his will for self-assertion, self-glory, and human undoing.  For the Devil is damned and his kingdom is one of damnation into which he aspires to finally draw all those presently consorting with him as did Eve of old to celebrate him there in his own ‘satanic dwellings’ of damnation.

Jesus is therefore most persistently insistent:

Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Notice first of all the three focuses in that saying: ‘make friends’, ‘wealth ... fails’, ‘eternal dwellings’.

‘Make friends for yourselves’, Jesus says, for everyone suffering, everyone in need of whatever sort, needs friends, but to that end Jesus most earnestly recommends the steward’s ‘brutal’ honesty with regard to himself and his ability to face up to what was to come when he should lose his very, very good job!

That steward was truly honest to himself!!  What modern disbeliever and scoffer can contemplate eternity without most serious thought and secret prayer?  Of course, they say ‘no one ever comes back’, but that is only true against themselves, for countless saints have come back, Fatima and Lourdes are historically recognized!  No scoffer, however, has ever come back to prove that nothing but ‘nothingness’ lies around dearth’s dark and lonely corner!!

‘Wealth fails’, because ultimately it is only something, and not someone.  Things can be, are meant to be, possessed or used, by a someone, by a person; they can never of themselves, possess or use a person, other than by personal folly, enmity, or human greed and selfishness.  They cannot offer fulfilment for a human being.

‘Eternal dwellings’ because Jesus came to save men from sin and offer them salvation, a heavenly home as children of God; He has nothing to offer those who aspire to nothing but what is earthly:

Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.   (Mark 3:29)

But for those truly seeking to know about what Jesus is offering, friends are always available, even bought friends, yes, even friends bought by dishonest wealth!  Let us look closer at that.

In our parable the steward wrongfully used a measure of wealth at the expense of the owner who was a rich man, one who had amassed or acquired great wealth.  As such – amassed wealth -- it had unquestionably become ‘dishonest’ in the course of its being amassed, for one man cannot acquire an inequitable amount of money and power without others having, in some way, suffered during the course of that amassing process.

The rich man’s steward was about to be sacked for allegedly ‘wasting his master’s goods’ and such an unchallengeable dismissal on the basis of nothing other than a secret accusation was unjust.  Perhaps that is why the rich man could commend his unjust steward’s prudence!  But that is not why Jesus so urgently commends him to us:

I SAY TO YOU, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

That originally ‘dishonest’ wealth, having been dishonestly used by the steward for his own purposes, has had its double dishonesty somewhat cleansed by the steward using it for what was simply a measure of necessary self-protection against a not-to-be-questioned and life-threatening decision made against himself.  That is partly why Jesus could use this story to highlight the essential teaching He wished to make.

Jesus ‘commended the unjust steward’ to us, however, because He needed to emphasize the supreme importance of fear of God, and hope in Him sent to us for the one and only purpose of our salvation; salvation is of supreme importance and it is ultimately decided by the final stand we take in relation to Him Who originally made us for our blessing and His glory.

It is never too late to mend for Jesus ... what He recommends for even the most wayward, disorientated and depraved of sinners is, imitate the steward’s honesty with regard to yourself and your future now most imminent.   Make friends, Jesus advises and most urgently ‘implores’ ... finish your life with an act of supreme charity, say even one prayer to mankind’s supreme Friend, Jesus Himself ... but say it with the honesty to yourself and your situation shown by the steward in Jesus’ parable.