Sunday, September 18, 2016

Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle C

Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).

The Best Use of Money

Today we are going to learn something very practical from our Lord.  He discusses the use of money in our Gospel reading. He tells us to use it to make friends. Here are his precise words from our Gospel. "I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."

There have been many commentaries on this passage. Some commentaries have considered this as one of the most difficult passages to explain in the Bible.

The commentaries have explained who these friends are referred to by Jesus. Some think that these friends are the poor to whom we give money so that they can be helped out of their poverty. Others think that the friends here are God, the persons of the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the angels because they are the ones who will receive us in the eternal dwellings or heaven.

Today we will not deal with any of the interpretation of these commentaries. We will just take the words of Jesus as simply as the Holy Spirit leads us.

First, Jesus tells us, in fact commands us because he uses the imperative mood of the verb here, to make friends for ourselves. And he means just that. He wants us to make friends.

Jesus values our effort to make friends. He himself made friends with people. The most obvious friends he had were in the family of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. He also wants to make friends with us. His church is a society of friends. He called his disciples friends.

There are four qualities or characteristics of friends. The first is that friends know each other personally and they grow in this knowledge. Jesus wants us to interact with people so that we know them personally and they also know us personally. There is nothing of the impersonal relationship with Jesus.

Second is that friends share the goods with one another. These goods can be intangible like ideas or conversations or they can be tangible like money.

Third is that friends come to the help of one another in time of need. When Jesus heard of the death of his friend Lazarus he made plans to visit the family. He restored Lazarus to his sisters from death.

Fourth, and this is explicitly mentioned in the command of Jesus to make friends. Friends receive each other in their dwellings. You and I welcome friends in our homes.

Not only does Jesus want us to have friends and to make an effort to have friends, but he tells us to use our money for this purpose. It is unrealistic for us to make friends but then we do not spend anything for this purpose. Friends do cost money.

For Jesus this is a wise of our money. We use it to have as many friends as possible.

Finally Jesus tells us the result of this making of friends. When we lack something or fail in something our friends will help us. Which is common sense. Who else will help us but our friends. The reason why Jesus used the words eternal dwellings here is because he refers to the places where our friends are. Some commentaries mean heaven by these eternal dwellings, because heaven is an eternal place. But the word "dwellings" here is from a word which means tent. So we can render these words as eternal tents, tents that have no beginning and no end. They can mean heaven. They can also mean a state or situation of the friend. This state or situation is eternal because it is the eternal God himself who brings about this situation, one of happiness, one of contentment, one of complete obedience to God.

Again, Jesus wants us to make an effort to make friends with the use of money that we have. This for him is the wise use of money. As stewards of God's resources this is the best we can do, use it to spread the kingdom of God by making friends with other people.

Having friends means that we know people personally and they also know us personally, we both grow in this personal knowledge, we share with one another our ideas and resources, we help one another and we welcome each other in our homes.

This is the practical and most effective way to spread the Kingdom of God. In heaven we will all be friends. We start our heaven now by using our money to make friends as good stewards of the Lord.

Let us bow our heads in prayer. Lord Jesus, you willed that your followers will be friends of one another. Help us to use our money to have more friends on earth and in heaven. Amen.

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Note for the readers:

The Mass readings are from the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). This is where our Lectionary gets the readings.

NAB stands for New American Bible (before it was revised). This is the translation I use. Unless otherwise stated the text I use is from this translation.

AV stands for Authorized Version of the Bible. It is more commonly referred to as the King James Bible. It is the version most used in English literature, therefore it is the one known more by the English speaking world.

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