25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Homily

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 8:4-7
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Luke 16:1-13
September 22, 2013

Today Jesus tells us the Parable of the Dishonest Steward.  In those days a steward was essentially the complete manager of the owner’s property and affairs.  It was their responsibility to use wisely all that the owner had.  It all belonged to the owner but the steward had full dominion over everything.

So, in “squandering his property”, the steward fails to do the very task he was hired for.

Each and everyone one of us is a steward.  We may “own” things ourselves like a car or a home but really what we have comes from the gifts that God has given us.

In Genesis we read that God gives us dominion over all the Earth.  We often take that to mean we can do whatever we want with it.

That would be irresponsible and it would be wrong.

God has given us gifts and we are given dominion and free will to do whatever we want with what we have given.  That doesn’t mean we should squander what we have been given.

Paul invites us to pray for everyone.  God wills everyone to be saved.  Jesus gives his life desiring that all will be saved.

When we think about the gifts God has given us, we are called to think not just of ourselves but other people.  The question is not how we build up earthly wealth for ourselves or how to make a comfortable life for ourselves.

The question is how we can use our gifts to make the world a better place, how we can help God’s Kingdom to be known in this world.

We need to take care of our needs but not to desire “great wants” for ourselves while others struggle.  This can be a major challenge.  It always has been.

The prophet Amos is speaking to those whose greatest priority is their profit for sales.  They will do anything to make a dollar.  They dread Sabbath and religious feasts because it keeps them from working and making a profit.  They “trample upon the needy” and “destroy the poor” just to make a profit.

Christ has given his Church a mission to proclaim the good news.  This means sharing the faith and caring for those in need and supporting the poor.  To share the faith with someone who doesn’t have food begins with showing them love by helping with their needs.

We can do this individually when we see people in need.  We do as a parish with our Food Pantry, our Thanksgiving Meal program, and Christmas Baskets.  As a parish, we also support our local Catholic Charities office.

Of course, that is all about providing for physical needs.  We also need to share faith, nourishing people’s souls.  That’s what we do with Mass.  It’s also the heart of our religious ed. programs.

We must also think about what we mean when we say “Church”.  We say church with a lower case “c” when we refer to the buildings we call churches but being a “Church” with a capital “C” is not limited to the confines of a building.

We must directly experience “church” through our parish where we come together to worship but “Church” is really about people, caring for and reaching out to.

As Catholics we have the gift of being a universal church spread over the world, linked together with a common faith and a common Mass.

We are part of the Diocese of Rochester.  We are called to collaborate with our diocese (and the whole Church) to fulfill the mission God has given us.

Stewardship means given of our time, talent, and treasures all to make possible the fulfillment of the mission Christ has given us.

As a parish, we are on the right track locally with the ministries I already mentioned but we need to remember Paul’s call to remember everyone and to look beyond Ithaca.

All that I have said flows from our readings today that are the same readings we read every third year on the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time but I find these readings especially appropriate this week as our diocese is kicking off our annual Catholic Ministries Appeal.

It’s about ministry but to do ministry in today’s world requires some funding.  The CMA makes up over half the budget for our diocese.

It’s used across our diocese to support hospital and prison chaplains.  It’s used to support campus ministry programs.  It’s used to provide training and support for our religious education and youth programs.

The diocese also provides our parish with technical and administrative support.  Our business relies on the support of the diocese.

Each year, the CMA has a theme and this year’s theme is “We are God’s helping hands.”  Could the CMA be part of how you help others?

We ask for money for our regular collections, for our capital building repairs, and for the CMA.  Our goal for the CMA this year is $54,011, up about $1,800 from last year.  Some might be tempted to give to our capital campaign that we are starting instead of the CMA.  I ask that everyone please continue to contribute to the CMA if you can.  Remember it’s a mandated goal, meaning if we don’t meet our goal we make up the difference.  So, it really doesn’t help to give to our Strengthen Our Foundations Campaign instead of the CMA.

Please pray about you might contribute.

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