Monthly Archives: September 2016

Parable of the Unjust Steward by Fr. Joel

Jesus wants us to be as clever as serpents and as gentle as doves. In the first reading, Amos warned the richunjust-steward-400x400 and those who take advantage of the less privileged in our society. He said that the Lord will judge them and punish them for cheating the poor in our society.

The Psalm said we should praise the Lord who lifts up the poor. This means God is the defender and protector of the poor people. In the second reading St. Paul encouraged us to pray for one another especially for those in authority. This will enable us obtain peace and joy in society. Furthermore, he instructed us to ensure that everyone gets to know about the good news in order to be saved.

In the gospel we read the story of a dishonest steward who misused his master’s property and the master decided to terminate his work. Though, the master commended the dishonest steward for acting prudently in planning for his future so that he will not be stranded and be without a place to go after he had been laid off. He is praised for being wise with worldly things.

But we children of light, Christians do not possess such kind of wisdom in spiritual matters. We do not prepare for the future especially spiritually for death. We do not prepare ourselves for heaven, our future and eternal home the way we prepare for our earth home. Today we are being called to be wise as this steward and prepare for the future, heaven, using our resources here on earth.

‘’Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.’’ This means we should be generous with our possessions so that we can gain more blessings from and be with God. If you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, worldly things, who will trust you with true wealth, eternal wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, the excess wealth you have which belong to others, who will give you what is yours, your inheritance in heaven? This means, if we cannot be generous with our material possessions, especially the excess which technically belongs to the poor, you will not get to heaven and see God. He said that 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 both God and mammon. Therefore, use your resources to serve the Lord and the less privilege people around you.

Do we use money to further the kingdom of God? Do we try to see the good in people, their potentials? We should be prudent in managing our resources in order to get rewarded and gain salvation. We should use them to store up treasure for ourselves in heaven. As servants of God we should not be dishonest in our dealings with God and his people. Rather be sincere stewards and use whatever God has given you to serve him and humanity. We should use our resources and position to help others and gain rewards in heaven. Do not use your position and resources to oppress or take advantage of the less privileged in society. We have been called to be good stewards in our families and communities. Please ensure that you are an honest and a good steward before God in order to receive an excellent reward in heaven from him.

 TWENTY FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

THE PARABLE OF THE UNJUST STEWARD

 

 

 

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God is Compassionate and Merciful by Fr. Joel

 

Our God is full of compassion and mercy to his people. In the first reading God told shackledhandsMoses to go down from the mountain because the people had made for themselves a god, a molten calf to worship and offer sacrifice to it. By so doing, the people were rejecting the God that brought them out of the land of Egypt, the land of slavery and bondage. The Lord was angry with them and wanted to destroy them and make a great nation from Moses instead. But Moses on the other hand pleaded with the Lord not to destroy the people and reminded the Lord of his promise to the people, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to make their descendants as many as the stars in sky. The Lord listened to Moses and demonstrated his mercy to them and he did not destroy the people.

The Psalm said, ‘’I will rise and go to my father.’’ It is a song of repentance to the Lord for our sins. In this song, we ask the Lord to forgive us and not to destroy us. In the second reading, St. Paul gave thanks to God for forgiving him and calling him into his ministry in spite of what he had done to the church (persecution). The Lord was merciful to him and gave him the opportunity to minister to his people. In the same way, Christ came to call us, sinners, to repentance and to participate in his mission of evangelization of the world.

In the Gospel, Christ was accused of eating with tax-collectors and sinners by the Pharisees and Scribes. This was a taboo then in the Jewish tradition for a rabbi to interact with sinner and tax-collectors. Jesus replied to them using the following parables. First, is the parable of the lost sheep in which the shepherd left 99 sheep to go in search of one missing sheep and when he found it he called his friends and neighbors to celebrate with him. Second, is the parable of the lost coin in which the woman who lost one out of ten coins, light her lamp and swept the floor of the house until she found it, then, she celebrated with her neighbors. Last, is the parable of the prodigal son who collected his own share of the father’s property and left for a distant country where he squandered everything and later became so hungry that he wanted to eat with pigs in order to survive. Then he realized his mistake and decided to go back to his father and ask for forgiveness and to be accepted not as a son but a slave instead. But on his return home, his father saw him from a far and ran to welcome him home. The father decided to celebrate his return in special way. The elder son was not happy with the father’s love, mercy, and lavish celebration of his younger brother who was wasteful and deserved to be punished. On top of that the father gave the younger son new clothes, shoes, and ring to symbolize that his position, rights and privileges as his son has been reinstated.

All these readings and parables demonstrated the compassion and mercy of God to his people. He does not judge nor condemn the sinners but celebrates their return and repentance to him. Likewise the angels and saints in heaven they celebrate each time we repent of our sins. If this is how our God is why do we delay coming back to him and repent of our sins? No matter how many or terrible our sins are, the Lord is ready to forgive us and use us for his mission here on earth. All we need do is to make up our minds and return/repent. There are no any jail terms or death sentence on us if we come back to him, instead we shall receive joy and peace. We will be release from the shackles of the devil and be made clean of our iniquities.

We are guilty of so many sins just like the people of Israel. For example, pride, idolatry, doubt, persecuting others, Ignorant, in fact we are lost like the prodigal son and have gone far away from God. Living in sin is slavery to the devil. Remember the devil was an angel who disobeyed God and is undergoing punishment. Therefore, he is looking for disciples to join him in the kingdom of darkness. Please do not succumb to his tricks or temptations. Stand strong and resist him by all means. Let us take advantage of the compassion and mercy of the Lord and gain our freedom from the devil so that we can enjoy peace and love from God the father. Also remember to pray and come for forgiveness of your sins and pray for others just as Moses did, forgive others just like God does to sinners. The sacrament of reconciliation is there to help us come back to God. Please know that repentance and forgiveness are the secrets of happy life in a family and a community.

Please learn and know how to confess your sins to the priest. Wait for appropriate time to go for confession. Do not feel guilty whenever you remember past sins that you did not confess because they were forgiven already at your last confession. Never make reference to the sins that you confessed last time because they have been forgiven and are not to be remembered. Begin to count your sins for next confession from the moment you leave the confessional. Be honest, specific and call your sins by their names and not by numbers or symbols. Confession time is not time for long counselling or for story telling because others are waiting to confess as well.

TWENTY FOURTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

GOD IS COMPASSIONATE AND MERCIFUL TO HIS CHILDREN

 

The Cost of Discipleship by Fr. Joel

Today, Jesus tells us the cost of being his disciples. We must consider this cost very moneyseriously before making the commitment to become his disciples. Jesus is very blunt, serious and sincere in telling us these requirements for being his disciple. Being his disciple is not an easy job.
The first reading said: ‘’who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends? But when things are in heaven, who can search them out? Or who ever knew your counsel except you had given wisdom and sent your holy spirit from on high?’’ This means that no one is capable of knowing God’s mind except he decided to reveal it to you.
The Psalm says that, in every age, o Lord, you have been our refuge; for a thousand years in his sight is like a day; teach us to number our days a right so that we can gain wisdom; fill us with your blessing so we can rejoice all the days of our lives. This tells us how God has been gracious to his people, from one generation to another and how his ways are different from ours. But understanding his ways gives us wisdom that leads to eternal life.
In the second reading, St. Paul emphases the importance of our spiritual bond with each other; is like blood relationship. And he encourages us to accept one another as brothers and sister in Christ Jesus.
In the gospel, Jesus told his disciples the blunt and hard truth that anyone who wants to follow him must hate his family members and himself and carry his cross and follow him. Hatred for family members and yourself means accepting and choosing to do the will of God instead of your own will or that of your family members. And you are doing so because you recognized God’s will to be superior and the ultimate thing to do. And carrying the cross means being disciplined to avoid sins such as greed, Idolatry, impurity of any kind, stealing and cheating of all kinds, hatred and injustice, malice, envy and jealousy, enduring hardships and the challenges of being true disciples. It includes regular prayer life, receiving the sacraments and being in the state of grace always, taking decisions in favor of God’s will and against your personal interest and the wish of your family members. You do all of these because you want to do God’s will instead of humans will. Therefore, you are willing to give up human desires and interest for the will of God to be done in your life.
The cross also means any difficulties, hardships, and challenges that you encounter trying to be his true disciple. This includes accepting and accommodating the weakness and failings of your spouse, children, family members, friends, and, neighbors; training of children, giving care to the sick, elderly and those in need, and participation in different ministries and mission of the church. And for us to be true and successful disciples we must seek God’s counsel, will, blessings, wisdom, make him our refuge, and see other people as our sisters and brothers and render them good services.
We are not only to follow him by words but to imitate his lifestyle especially his suffering and sacrifices for the world. After washing the feet of his disciples he said to them, ‘’I have given an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’’ (John 13: 15). Remember that one strong condition of becoming his disciple is to carry the cross and the cross means suffering and sacrifice. It means accepting the will of God and rejecting our wills. No other way to be his disciple except through this way he has given us. Therefore, the cross is part and parcel of being his disciple. Anyone who preached Christianity without the cross is not speaking the mind of Jesus. A good Christian do not see suffering as a curse from God but as an opportunity to be a strong disciple of the Lord. We have been called to be another Jesus Christ to those around us beginning with our spouses and other immediate family members.
Therefore, do not just say yes to him without knowing the cost implication of following him. Just as you will want to buy a car or house you must first consider whether you are capable of paying for it or not. The dealers have the price for their goods and you cannot make them change the price to favor you. In the same way, you do not become a Christian and change the conditions given by the founder of it. These conditions have been given by him and no one is capable of changing them. You take or leave it.
Please note that however difficult it may be to be his disciple, the blessings of being a true disciple are amazing. The benefits are outrageous. Therefore, risk whatever it takes to be his true disciple and gain the ultimate reward from him.

TWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP