Extracted from the holy Gospel according to Luke 16:1-13:
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward 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” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty.” To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. 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 the tents of eternity.
The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great.
If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches?
And if you cannot be trusted 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 treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’
It was the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time on 22 September 2013.
Here are the Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day (see previous page):
1st Reading: Amos 8:4-7,
Responsorial: Psalm 113:1-2, 4-8,
2nd Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-8 &
Gospel Reading: Luke 16:1-13 (see above) .
We have extracted the Homilies of Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
PILGRIMAGE TO KAZAKHSTAN
HOMILY OF THE HOLY FATHER
Astana – Square of the Motherland
1. "There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5).
These words from the Apostle Paul’s First Letter to Timothy contain the central truth of Christian faith; and it is my joy to announce this truth to you today, dear Brothers and Sisters of Kazakhstan. I come among you as an apostle of Christ and a witness to him; I come as a friend to all people of good will. To each and every one I come to offer the peace and love of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
I know your history. I know the sufferings to which many of you have been subjected, when the previous totalitarian regime took you from your lands of origin and deported you here in a situation of distress and deprivation. I am happy to be here today among you and to tell you that you are close to the Pope’s heart.
With affection I embrace each of you, dear Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood. I extend special greetings to Bishop Tomasz Peta, Apostolic Administrator of Astana, and I thank him for the words he has spoken on your behalf. I greet the representatives of the other Churches and Ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of other Religions found in this vast Eurasian region. I greet His Excellency the President of the Republic, and the civil and military authorities and all who are united with us in this celebration.
2. "There is one God". The Apostle proclaims before all else the absolute oneness of God. This is a truth which Christians inherited from the children of Israel and which they share with Muslims: it is faith in the one God, "Lord of heaven and earth" (Luke 10:21), almighty and merciful.
In the name of this one God, I turn to the people of deep and ancient religious traditions, the people of Kazakhstan. I turn as well to those who belong to no religion and to those who are searching for truth. To them let me repeat the well-known words of Saint Paul, which it was my joy to hear repeated last May at the Areopagus in Athens: "[God] is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:27-28). And I recall what was written by your great poet Abai Kunanbai: "Can his existence really be doubted / if everything on the earth bears witness to him?" (Poetry, 14).
3. "There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". After proclaiming the mystery of God, the Apostle contemplates Christ, the one mediator of salvation. His is a mediation, Saint Paul notes in another of his Letters, which works through poverty: "Though he was rich, he became poor for your sake, so that by his poverty you might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Jesus "did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Philippians 2:6); he did not want to appear before our humanity, which is poor and fragile, in his overwhelming superiority. Had he done so, he would have obeyed the logic not of God but of the potentates of this world, denounced unequivocally by the prophets of Israel, like Amos, from whom today’s First Reading is taken.
The life of Jesus was in full harmony with the saving plan of the Father, "who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4). He bore faithful witness to the divine will, giving "himself as a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:6). Giving himself completely in love, Jesus won for us friendship with God, which had been lost because of sin. This "logic of love" is what he holds out to us, asking us to live it above all through generosity to those in need. It is a logic which can bring together Christians and Muslims, and commit them to work together for the "civilization of love". It is a logic which overcomes all the cunning of this world and allows us to make true friends who will welcome us "into the eternal dwelling-places" (Luke 16:9), into the "homeland" of heaven.
4. Dearly beloved, humanity’s homeland is the Kingdom of heaven! How compelling it is for us to ponder this truth in this place, in the Square which bears the name of the Mother Land, and where stands the monument symbolizing it. The Second Vatican Council taught that there is a link between human history and the Kingdom of God, between the various stages of society’s progress and the final goal towards which humanity is called by the free decision of God (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 33-39).
The tenth anniversary of the independence of Kazakhstan, which you celebrate this year, prompts us to view things in this perspective. What link is there between this earthly homeland, with its values and goals, and the heavenly homeland, into which the whole human family is called to enter beyond every injustice and conflict? The Council’s answer is enlightening: "Earthly progress must be distinguished from the unfolding of the Kingdom of Christ, but to the extent that it contributes to a better ordering of human society, it is most important for the Kingdom of God" (ibid., 39).
5. Christians are both inhabitants of this world and citizens of the Kingdom of heaven. They commit themselves wholeheartedly to the building of earthly society, but they remain focused upon the good things of eternity, as if looking to a superior and surpassing model in order to implement it ever more effectively in everyday life.
Christianity does not lead to alienation from the tasks of this earth. If at times, in some quite particular situations, it gives this impression, that is because many Christians do not live as they should. But in truth, when it is lived as it should be, Christianity is a leaven in society, producing growth and maturity on the human level and opening society to the transcendent dimension of the Kingdom of Christ, in which the new humanity will be fully accomplished.
This spiritual dynamism draws strength from prayer, as today’s Second Reading made clear. And in this celebration we want to pray for Kazakhstan and its inhabitants, so that this vast nation, with all its ethnic, cultural and religious variety, will grow stronger in justice, solidarity and peace. May it progress on the basis in particular of cooperation between Christians and Muslims, committed day by day, side by side, in the effort to fulfill God’s will.
6. Yet prayer must always be accompanied by appropriate works. Following Christ’s example, the Church never separates evangelization from human promotion, and she urges the faithful in every circumstance to work for social renewal and progress.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, may the "Mother Land" of Kazakhstan find in you her loving and concerned children, faithful to the spiritual and cultural heritage received from your forebears and able to adapt this heritage to new demands.
In keeping with the Gospel, distinguish yourself by your humility and integrity, offering your talents for the sake of the common good and showing special concern for the weakest and most disadvantaged. Respect for each one’s rights, even when that person has different personal beliefs, is the foundation of all truly human harmony.
In deep and practical ways, have an attitude of communion among yourselves and towards everyone, drawing inspiration from what the Acts of the Apostles tell us of the first community of believers (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32). At the Eucharistic table, your charity is nourished: bear witness to it in fraternal love and in service to the poor, the sick and the abandoned. Bring people together and work for reconciliation and peace between individuals and groups, nurturing genuine dialogue so that the truth will always emerge.
7. Love the family! Defend and promote it as the basic cell of human society; nurture it as the prime sanctuary of life. Give great care to the preparation of engaged couples and be close to young married couples, so that they will be for their children and the whole community an eloquent testimony of God’s love.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, deeply moved with joy, I want to exhort you and all the believers united with us in the words which I have often repeated as we begin this millennium: Duc in altum!
With affection I embrace you, people of Kazakhstan, and I encourage you to bring to completion all your projects of love and salvation. God will never abandon you. Amen.
JOHN PAUL II
1. In the face of evil manifested in various forms in the world, distressed and bewildered human beings are asking themselves: "Why?".
At the dawn of this third millennium, blessed by the Great Jubilee and full of potential, humanity is scarred by the overwhelming spread of terrorism. The series of atrocious attacks on human life disturbs and worries consciences and gives rise to the searching question that recurs in the Psalms: "Why Lord? Until when?".
2. God has answered this anguishing question that emanates from the scandal of evil, not with an explanation of principle, as if desiring to justify himself, but with the sacrifice of his own Son on the Cross. The apparent triumph of evil and the definitive victory of good converge in the death of Jesus; the darkest moment in history and the revelation of divine glory; the breaking point and the centre of attraction and of the recomposition of the universe. "And I", Jesus says, "once I am lifted up from earth, will draw all men to myself" (John 12: 32).
For believers, the Cross of Christ is an icon of hope, because it was on the Cross that the saving plan of God's love was brought about. Several days ago, therefore, the liturgy invited us to celebrate the Triumph of the Holy Cross, a feast from which believers draw comfort and courage.
3. Fixing our gaze on the crucified Christ, in spiritual union with the Virgin Mary, let us continue on our way, sustained by the power of the Resurrection.
After leading the recitation of the Angelus, the Holy Father said:
I warmly welcome the English-speaking pilgrims and I encourage you to follow Christ with confidence and generosity.
I greet the Italian speaking pilgrims, especially the delegation from the Molise Region at the official opening of the school year; the parish priest, altar servers and their relatives of St George the Martyr Parish in Victoria, Gozo, Malta; and the group of the Work of the Church. On the Occasion of World Alzheimer's Day, I assure my prayer to all the sick and to all who are nursing them.
I wish everyone a good Sunday.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Vatican Publisher for allowing us to publish the Homilies of Blesses Pope John Paul II, so that it could be accessed by more people all over the world; as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us.
29 September 2013