Liturgy of the Sunday

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Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


First Reading

Amos 8,4-7

Listen to this, you who crush the needy and reduce the oppressed to nothing, you who say, 'When will New Moon be over so that we can sell our corn, and Sabbath, so that we can market our wheat? Then, we can make the bushel-measure smaller and the shekel-weight bigger, by fraudulently tampering with the scales. We can buy up the weak for silver and the poor for a pair of sandals, and even get a price for the sweepings of the wheat.' Yahweh has sworn by the pride of Jacob, 'Never will I forget anything they have done.'

Psalmody

Psalm 112

Antiphon

Praise the name of the Lord.

Praise, O servants of the Lord
praise the name of the Lord!

May the name of the Lord be blessed
both now and for evermore!

From the rising of the sun to its setting
praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord,
above the heavens his glory.

Who is like the Lord, our God,
who has risen on high to his throne

yet stoops from the heights to look down,
to look down upon heaven and earth?

From the dust he lifts up the lowly,
from the dungheap he raises the poor

to set him in the company of princes,
yes, with princes of his people.

To the childless wife he gives a home
and gladdens her heart with children.

Second Reading

1 Timothy 2,1-8

I urge then, first of all that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be offered for everyone, for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live peaceful and quiet lives with all devotion and propriety. To do this is right, and acceptable to God our Saviour: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and humanity, himself a human being, Christ Jesus, who offered himself as a ransom for all. This was the witness given at the appointed time, of which I was appointed herald and apostle and -- I am telling the truth and no lie -- a teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth. In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 16,1-13

He also said to his disciples, 'There was a rich man and he had a steward who was denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, "What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer." Then the steward said to himself, "Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes." 'Then he called his master's debtors one by one. To the first he said, "How much do you owe my master?" "One hundred measures of oil," he said. The steward said, "Here, take your bond; sit down and quickly write fifty." To another he said, "And you, sir, how much do you owe?" "One hundred measures of wheat," he said. The steward said, "Here, take your bond and write eighty." 'The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.' 'And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into eternal dwellings. Anyone who is trustworthy in little things is trustworthy in great; anyone who is dishonest in little things is dishonest in great. If then you are not trustworthy with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you are not trustworthy with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own? 'No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.'

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The Gospel of Luke, which continues to accompany us in these Sundays, reports a parable that Jesus tells his disciples, that of a manager who is accused in front of his master of bad administration. When the master calls the manager, he does not attempt any defence. He knows well that he is guilty: the scandal is known to all. But in front of the sad destiny awaiting him, he does not give up. He is rightly concerned about his future: ""What will I do? ...I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg." Therefore he decides to look for a way of salvation without wasting anytime, before being fired. He calls his master's debtors and cheats again: he discounts the amount of money they owe. It is a risky plan, but it is "efficient" to save himself. His plan succeeds and, though the paradoxicality of the reasoning is clear, the amazed evangelist notes: "His master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly." It is obvious that the master does not praise the corrupted behaviour of the manager who is put among the "children of this age" and not among the "children of light" who, however in the context of the parable are said to be lazy and hopeless. On the contrary the audacity and shrewdness of the unfaithful manager in securing his salvation is what Jesus underlines, rather holds up as an example for the disciples when he says: "Make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes."
The tradition of the Fathers reads these words as an exhortation to the disciples to serve the poor, rather to make friends of them. They will be the ones to "welcome them into the eternal homes." This is the shrewdness that Jesus asks of the disciples, even if they have been bad stewards. The bond with the poorest, starting with the simple gesture of almsgiving, if it is not broken, leads up to heaven. St Augustine's words against those who wanted to eliminate almsgiving are full of spiritual meaning: "Fortunate are those churches that have beggars asking for alms in front of their doors; the latter remind Christians that they are beggars who must stretch out their hands to receive help from God." We are all beggars, like that unfaithful manager who begged for help from debtors by cutting their debt. Love for the poor, almsgiving, said the holy Fathers, forgives many sins. It also gives a new taste in life. We could say that the clearest commentary on this parable is given in the words of Jesus as reported by Paul in his farewell to the leaders of the community of Ephesus, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).