Monday, September 23, 2013

Homily - "Everything we have is from God"

Click HERE to listen to Sunday's homily.

Before I became a priest and in the years I was out of the seminary, I worked in sales for a construction company.  We did residential and commercial work. It was a great job, and I really enjoyed it.  Commissions were the main source of income as they are with any sales job.  I attended sales seminars to help drive up sales.  The main point was that we needed to stand out to our customers, and to be memorable.  One of the things they suggested was to change our voicemail regularly in creative ways.  So, I went with it, changing my voicemail greeting every week, to something goofy but memorable, oftentimes related to current events in the world.  This was in the late 90s.  One week it was, “Hi, this is Greg, I’m sorry I can’t take your call right now.  I’m in the Middle East, trying to track down Osama bin Laden.  Please leave a message”.  Another week it was, “Hi, this is Greg, I’m on the other line right now with the U.S. Olympic Committee, trying to finalize and realize my dream of being a U.S. Olympic figure skater.  Please leave a message”.  One customer told me that if he and his co-workers were working late, they would call my voicemail just to hear the greeting!  Sales tripled that year.

I mention all of this because it relates to the man in tonight’s Gospel parable.  In working the deals with the debtors of his boss, the steward forgoes his commissions.  He brings to his master what the master is due from the debtors, but the wealth that is lost is his own.  This is why the master praises him for how he handles his wealth.  It’s a lesson to us all about being good stewards of the wealth of another, namely God.  This is a confusing Gospel with words and phrases that don’t make sense coming out of the mouth of Christ.  For example, the Lord speaks of “dishonest wealth”. Another translation has this as “the wealth of another”.  “True wealth” is our own wealth.  The basic point is that everything we have is from God, and we are to be good stewards of the wealth of God.

As students, you all are stewards…of the wealth of another, most likely your parents.  They are paying for your education, and you are to be responsible in managing their wealth.  If you go to class, do your work, manage your time wealth, and do your best, then you are good stewards of their wealth.  And, if you are trustworthy in the matters of college, then you will have your own wealth after college.  In dating, too, you are to be good stewards.  When you are in a relationship with someone, it’s like you are given a treasure.  You are given the wealth of another, and if you prove trustworthy in the matter of dating, then you are given that person in marriage…they become yours.  Marriage on earth is an image of marriage in Heaven with God.  So, using the same analogy with stewardship, if we prove trustworthy in handling the wealth of God in this life, we will receive our own wealth in the Kingdom of Heaven.  If you’ve had a thought of your own mansion in Heaven, then that’s what this means…”eternal dwellings”.

So, everything we have is from God.  Everything around us is the wealth of God.  We are to be good stewards, mainly with money.  Jesus focuses on money in this Gospel, saying that one cannot “serve both God and mammon (money)”.  We are to use money responsibly, prudently, and simply, not bringing lavish things for ourselves.  Being a good steward means giving to the poor (“lift up the poor” as the Psalm says), giving to the Church…Newman Center collection! 

And, be a good steward at Mass.  God gives us incredible treasures at Mass through His Word and sacrament.  When you hear the readings, pay attention and try to pull out one thing that applies to you…one thing that God is saying to you tonight.  And, then when you approach the Eucharist – the greatest treasure on earth – come with a pure soul in a state of Grace. After you receive, go back prayerfully to your pew.  It’s a time not to talk or text, but to meditate on the gift you’ve received – God is in you!  And, go forth from here and do your best with all your work this week in being good stewards of your parents’ wealth.  If you prove trustworthy in these matters, you will receive eternal dwellings, your own true wealth, in the Kingdom of God forever.    

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