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Sunday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

September 21, 2019

Amos 8:4-7

Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8

1 Timothy 2:1-8

Luke 16:1-13

My reflection on today’s scripture readings are influenced by the almost daily reports of violence caused by inter-religious conflicts.  We Christians, along with Jews and Muslims, share a belief in God who is the Father Almighty, the creator of heaven and earth.  We also share the belief that our God loves us.  And finally, we hare the belief that our God’s most important commandment is showing love for God by serving our neighbor – especially our neighbors most in need.  It has been said that “authentic religious practice always enhances human life.”

When any of us preach hatred and persecution of neighbor we are not within our authentic Jewish, Christian, Muslim tradition.  Unfortunately throughout world history has witnessed each religion has been guilty of such “atrocities.”  And, as I mentioned  earlier, this pattern of behavior continues today. 

Each religion  charts a specific path within its own tradition to live out God’s command to love our neighbor.  Paul’s letter to Timothy reflects God’s universal love within the Christian world.  He said God “Wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”  Paul explains that the salvation occurs  through the man Jesus Christ “who gave Himself as a ransom for all.”

Hebrew scriptures insist on the importance of neighbor over all  other obligations.  The Book of Amos announces ruin for those who “trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land.” 

Today’s Gospel of the “unjust steward” has always been challenging for readers.  The unjust  steward reduced the amounts the debtors owed to the master in order to gain favor with the debtors.  The parable exhorts the listeners to be as shrewd in gaining favor with God as the unjust steward  was in gaining favor with the master’s debtors.  The reading concludes with a simple, “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”  Since Jesus equates service of neighbor with service to God I suspect we can hear Jesus exhorting us listeners to serve God in our neighborhood rather simply serve mammon (self and material prosperity.)

Remember, “Authentic religious practice always enhances human life.”

Prayer of the Day:  “For even the Son of Man did  not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:48. 

Prosit!

 

 

 

 

Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta

Assistant Director for Retreat Ministry

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