“SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD”
Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) – 18 Sept 2016
Amos 8:4-7; Ps. 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8 (R.v.1a, 7a); 1Tim 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13
“SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD”
It is a truism that where your treasure is, there lies your heart. If we love God so much, in God would our attention subsist but if it is material possession that we treasure more, it will definitely take away our attention from God. The people of Israel were patiently awaiting the Day of the Lord, when God would restore peace in Jerusalem. But they do this without bothering to keep themselves holy for the Lord.
The Prophet Amos was, therefore, very emphatic that the imminent Day of the Lord would be a day of desolation for many who have been living filthy lives. Therefore, those who have been living their lives by defrauding the poor and oppressing the defenceless would have to face darkness instead of light on the Day of the Lord (cf. Amos 5:18ff; Zeph 1:14ff). So, there is punishment that awaits all who engage in filthy acts. This understanding is very important for us so that we might not misunderstand the point that the Gospel reading of today is presenting to us.
The unfaithful servant in the Gospel of today was faced with the challenge of a secured future in the presence of his masters intention to sack him. He was worried about what becomes of him in the future. Both his job and his reputation are at stake. He then decided to make use of what he has – astuteness – to secure his future. It is his decisiveness and courage in facing his future squarely that the Gospel presents to us for emulation. We must also note that for the evangelist Luke, the care of the poor is a great virtue.
Hence, the action of the servant in reducing the debts of his master’s debtors could be seen as a charitable act towards the poor, which is in contradistinction with the attitude that the Prophet Amos criticised in the First Reading.
However, the means of carrying out this charitable act remains bad and condemnable before God. But, as pilgrims of faith, the intention of this servant to use all opportunities that were available to him to secure his future provides for us, a lesson that we must all imbibe – we must use all the opportunities we have to secure for ourselves, a bright future in the Kingdom of God.
St. Paul understands very well, the vulnerability of public offices/leadership and how tempting corruption could be at that level. He then enjoined all of us in the Second Reading of today to always pray for those who occupy different positions of leadership.
Many a time, we are more interested in criticising those in authority but do not think it as something necessary to pray for them. Praying for them is not a matter of sycophancy, aimed at winning them over to our side, but a religious duty which is aimed at helping them to “come to the knowledge of the truth” as God desires (cf. 1Tim 2:4). Of course, when they are saved, we equally benefit because “when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan” (Prov 29:2).
We must note that Jesus does not present the unfaithful servant as a model for us to emulate. Rather, we are to learn from his industriousness and readiness to secure a bright future for himself, even though it is through a mischievous way. If the children of darkness spend so much energy in working to secure their future, the children of light need to work even more to secure eternity.
In all, prayer should be our foundation, knowing well that if the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labour (cf. Psalm 127:1).
It is well with you.