Pondering for Sunday, September 18, 2022

New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 20: Year C

1 Timothy 2:1 to7;  Luke 16:1to13

“He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.”  (Luke 16:6)

In this world of the power of money we should always remember to let compassion for others rule over the cash of others. I think we only created money so that trade for much needed items could be acquired with a less perishable medium.  Live stock, olive oil, grain, fish, fruit and other food items will not hold up for long.  Currency in the form of coins, on the other hand, will often last a lifetime, and can even be handed down to following generations. But money was always about the ability to take care of the needs of the family and community.  This was the idea of people fulfilling their needs and not so much about profit. Money was the means to a needed end.

Then we began to make money the end, rather than the means. We began to pursue money for its own end.  Money soon began to be the object of worship. People with little or no money were regarded as people of little or no value. We somehow forgot that money was just a tool for getting what we need. We forgot we needed each other more than the goods that money would buy. We forgot about being good to those who had less wealth than we did. We should always consider our own fallen state. We are no better than the people we manage or those who have less money than we do. No amount of money advances us in God’s eyes.

After his exposure, the crafty manager in our Gospel lesson wants to be remembered for how he put money aside in order to help his neighbors. Right now, today, we are creating the memory that others will have of us. Our priorities will be evidenced by where we put people in relation to wealth. We can’t have it both ways.  We can’t serve God and money. 

This decision to be nice to people only came about when the shrewd manager was told about the accounting that was about to take place. This “accounting” is going to take place with every one of us.  This, now, is a good time for a review of my personal creed again: “I trust in the Creating Word, through the Holy Spirit of the Incarnate Word, in whom we live and move and love and have our being, and to whom we must give an account.”  And give an account, we all must.

Now is the time to do what is necessary to be welcomed into the hearts and homes of our fellow travelers. My message to you is not to discount money, but rather, to remind us that money is made for us to use in order to purchase what we need to live on, in order that we, and our houses of worship, being sustained, we might be better enabled to worship God, not the money itself.  This is the trust we have in the Creating Spirit and Word that will enable us to give a good account when our time comes.

As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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