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Saturday – Thirty-first Week – OT1
Readings: Rom 16:3-9, 16, 22-27; Lk 16:9-15.
Reading 1: (Rom 16:3-9, 16, 22-27):
Brothers and sisters:
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus,
who risked their necks for my life,
to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
greet also the Church at their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus,
who was the first fruits in Asia for Christ.
Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Greet Andronicus and Junia,
my relatives and my fellow prisoners;
they are prominent among the Apostles
and they were in Christ before me.
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ,
and my beloved Stachys.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ greet you.
I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole Church, greets you.
Erastus, the city treasurer,
and our brother Quartus greet you.
Now to him who can strengthen you,
according to my Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
but now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Gospel (Lk 16:9-15):
Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
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 God and mammon.”
The Pharisees, who loved money,
heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them,
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts;
for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”
I. THEME: How to use people and money to expand God’s kingdom.
Many Christians are wrong when they think the proclaiming of the Good News is the duty of priests and religious people, not of all Christians. They forgot that the prophetic duty belongs to all Christians when they received Baptism. Moreover, even Christ could proclaim the Good News by himself, He chose twelve apostles to do it with him. Besides these twelve, he also chose seventy-two disciples, and many women followed him. God wants all people to contribute — some by their efforts, some by their money – in the proclamation so that all will merit His rewards in the next life.
Today readings center around the duty of all Christians in the proclamation of the Good News. In the first reading, St. Paul gave a long list of Christians who worked with him in this mission. They will share with whatever Paul harvested in his mission because they contributed in whether by their efforts or time or money. In the Gospel, Jesus advised his audience to properly use money, even “unrighteous mammon” to buy friends so that when they run out of money, their friends will welcome them into the eternal habitations. Those who liked money as the Pharisees are fools because they will lose everything they possessed at last.
1/ Reading I: Paul listed out those who contributed in his proclamation of the Good News.
1.1/ The Christians helped Paul to fulfill his mission: Looking into Paul’s list, we can recognize the followings:
(1) Prisca and Aquila were called by Paul “my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.” Aquila is a Jew who was born in Pontus, came to Rome for work; but must leave Rome to Corinth due to the anti-Jews movement (cf. Acts 18:14). Prisca, also called Priscilla, was Aquila’s wife; both worked as the tent makers as Paul. At Corinth, Paul came to live with them, and they helped Paul in proclaiming of the Good News. Not only Paul but also many Gentiles’ churches appreciated what they did to them. While many people think their houses are exclusively for their family, this couple always opened up their house to welcome Christians to hear the Good News and celebrate liturgy. Many communities were established and nourished from their house. In order to do this, they must have a firm faith in God and an immense love for others.
(2) Paul did not discriminate women as some thought: There are at least six women are mentioned in the list. Besides Priscilla, there was Maria, “who has worked hard among you;” and Junias who was Paul’s kinswoman and fellow prisoner; three other women are not in today passage. To care for a preacher’s need, such as preparing a meal, cleaning his room, or buying what he needs… are things which any woman can do. St. Paul was certainly helped by these women.
(3) Even the help to copy letters and to send them out to many destinations was also mentioned in today passage: “I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.”
In addition, both the rich and the poor were mentioned in the list. Everyone can contribute in depending on the gifts which God gave to them.
1.2/ The last words: Paul abbreviated all the main points which he expounded in the Letter; that were: (1) The Gospel is necessary for all so they can stand firm in their life. (2) The center of the Gospel is Jesus Christ; people must believe in him in order to be saved. (3) The mystery of salvation was begun with Israel, but opened up to all people when Jesus came. This mystery was announced by many prophets of old.
2/ Gospel: Learn how to properly use money.
2.1/ Using money: Not many people know how to use their money properly, some wasted them, some are controlled by them. The one who knows to use them properly, will not waste money on unnecessary things; but use money to benefit himself and others, such as:
(1) Using money to develop his talents which are necessary for his life as registering classes, buying books or equipment. He can also provide a scholarship for those who need them or contribute money to researching organizations which will benefit humankind.
(2) Using money to help the poor: Chapter 25 of the Gospel according to St. Matthew teaches: God considers what we did to the poor as we did to Him. Jesus also said in today Luke’s passage: “I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.”
2.2/ Let show fidelity to God by our properly using of money: Life is a battlefield to learn and to experience; it is also an opportunity for God to evaluate people through:
– fidelity in small things: “He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.”
– fidelity in using the “unrighteous mammon”: “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?”
– fidelity in using others’ properties: One was hurt when he lost his own thing or child more than what belonged to others: “If you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”
2.3/ A servant cannot serve two masters: Not like in today society, a slave or a servant of Jesus’ time could only serve one master. Even now one can serve two masters, the degree of loyalty cannot be equal: “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
The same thing happens in serving God: “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Many of us have a counter view with Jesus for they think they can serve both God and mammon. Jesus gave us an example of the Pharisees: “who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him.” There are some because they liked money so much that they have no time for God, even to attend Mass one hour in the whole week.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– Proclaiming of the Good News is the duty of all Christians. If we don’t have ability and time to proclaim, we must make a contribution in training preachers and create opportunities for them to fulfill their duty.
– Everything in this world belongs to God and He gives to us for using; we are not the owners, but only stewards. We must know how to properly use them to benefit ourselves and others in this life and the life to come.