Homily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2022
“This makes no sense whatsoever…!” How many times has that been said in a day? By parents who fail to understand the troubled teenager? The medical person who is burnt out? The teacher who strives to help a struggling student with so much potential? The leader of a group or community that is ignored by supervisors or management… how many time have we walked away from a meeting shaking our heads thinking, “This makes no sense whatsoever!”
We are first introduced to this in the First Reading. The prophet Amos, points out Israel’s greatest offense: the horrible treatment of the poor by the rich. Unfortunately that is still happening today: refugees dropped at Martha’s Vineyard and At Kamala Harris’ home… used as pawns!!! In today’s reading, Amos lists off the crimes of the wealthy Israelites who cheat and abuse the poor. He reminds them that “The Lord has sworn the pride of Jacob, “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” Instead of ministering to the poor and needy, “they trample the needy and bring to ruin the poor of the land…” In short they put themselves first, with their wealth, without considering God nor the poor. For Amos… this grave injustice does not make any sense at all.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells another parable about a rich land owner who had a manager who ‘squanders his property…” This leads to rumors, accusations and eventually charges are brought against a manager. The rich person learns about the squandering and demands a full audit.
What happens next is confusing. The manager continues to ‘cooks the books’ by modifying the original corrupt loans. This doesn’t make much sense does it? Did he rewrite the loans without his commission? Or since he knew that he was on his way out, he lowered the terms of the loans by giving back more to the workers in oil and wheat. So then when he was fired, the people would have mercy on him and perhaps hire him? This manager is corrupt but not a fool. In doing what he did made the wealthy land owner look good.
The rich landowner has to handed to him. The clever actions of the manager not only put him in good favour with the tenants, it also brought to the land-owner and honour which he would be foolish to try and to undo. But still, this is not good. The Manager put wealth, money and personal gain before hardworking tenants… God. From this story, Jesus is telling us that we cannot serve two masters… we cannot serve God and wealth.
How does any of this make sense to us? Well, lets look at what is happening in our world. For the past week, we have been honouring, reflecting and mourning the life of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Look at the Tens of thousands who line the streets of London to pay their respects to the only monarch in the past 70 years, not to mention the countless joined via television. In an old clip from 1952 when she was names Queen, she swore to put God and her call to serve first… even before her family. What looked like a senseless response to many, only now is beginning to make sense. As a woman of great faith, she gave us stability in troubling times…she celebrated various historical events with us… she was always there when her country and the common wealth needed her. Although a woman of great wealth she had time for God first… and for everyone, including the man who forced his way into her home… instead of hiding under the bed, as I would do, she calmed him down! Now does that make sense? Recently, I heard of an owner of a business who at the age of 83 has given his company away. To combat climate change, a board of directors will now take on the company, who will do whatever needs to be done to protect the planet. Hopefully more will follow his example. For many, this makes no sense to many, but it did for to him… God and creation is paramount.
Look at our church, now a collapsing antiquated institution where change is needed. And with change, there is fear but there shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, most church leaders think that by staring at it or bringing it back to the 1940’s will solve everything. By literally turning their backs on the people some who have been ordained to serve and those who follow this mentality, think that the church will remain the same… that by bringing back the Latin liturgy will solve the problem. I remember while studying in the seminary, then Bishop Sherlock of London reminded the students ;that the Latin Mass was “a corrupt Liturgy,”
We need to serve God first by addressing the true issues of reconciliation, poverty and hope to a wounded world in need of so much love. Until the structure of our current institutional church begins to change by putting God first then nothing will make sense. The Church is a living organism. It will continue to grow and change because the Holy Spirit is it’s true guide… not us. Yes, people and institutions come and go. However, God is always first, everything else including wealth follows secondly. In the Psalm we prayed, the Lord raises the poor from the dust. God lifts the needy from the ash heap; to make them sit with princes with the princes of God’s people,” This makes no sense you think? But it does to God and it should to us. Amen.