Theme of the Sunday: How to Be an Astute Steward of the Goods of This World. Can we call the rich of the time of Amos shrewd? They became wealthy by cheating the poor, had no respect for ‘holy days’ and they busied themselves with their own selfish interests. In the eyes of people they were certainly shrewd, but in the eyes of God they ruined themselves. This is what the first’ reading teaches us. Jesus tells us in the gospel that we are ‘shrewd’ if we use the goods of this world to help others. In this way we acquire the only thing that counts, the friendship of the poor. To understand this truth, so difficult to accept, we need prayer. Paul tells us this in the second reading.

FIRST READING
A reading from the Book of the Prophet Amos (Amos 8 :4-7)
The Lord God spoke against those who buy the poor for silver.

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy, and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great, and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and sell the refuse of the wheat?” The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.”
The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 113: 1-2.4-6.7-5 (R. see la, 7a)
R/. Praise the Lord, who raises the poor from the dust.

Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blest
both now and for evermore! R/.

High above all nations is the Lord,
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God,
who dwells on high,
who lowers himself to look down
upon heaven and earth? R/.

From the dust he lifts up the lowly,
from the ash heap he raises the poor,
to set them in the company of princes,
yes, with the princes of his people. R/.

SECOND READING
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy (1Timothy 2: l –8)
Prayers should be made for all men to God, who desires all men to be saved.

Beloved: First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For 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, the testimony to which was given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling.
The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA 2 Corinthians 5:9
Alleluia. Though Jesus Christ was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. Alleluia

GOSPEL
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 16: 1-13)
You cannot serve God and mammon.”

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ “He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ “And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ “Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ “He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ “He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ “The master commended the dishonest steward for his prudence; for the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
The steward in today’s Gospel is irresponsible in dealing with his master’s good, and also dishonest in asking his master’s debtors to rewrite their account to benefits his future life. Can such a dishonest, irresponsible person be taken as a model of prudence and wisdom? Of course not! The master only approves his foresight without approving his behaviour. Jesus uses this story to teach us the need for foresight, prudence and wisdom in working out our salvation and in building up the kingdom of God. “…For the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light.” We need to be wise and prudent in our priorities, choices, behaviour, relationships, so that we reach our ultimate destiny – eternal life. The first reading tells how unwise the rich are in their cruelty towards the poor. The Lord warns, “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” The second reading teaches us that God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” True wisdom and prudence lie in accepting Christ Jesus as Saviour and living according to his teachings.

PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL
Celebrant: Christ is present in our midst. Let us join our hearts and minds to become one community of prayer, asking God’s blessing upon all people:

Celebrant: Christ is present in our midst. Let us join our hearts and minds to become one community of prayer, asking God’s blessing upon all people:

  1. For our Church and parish, that a spirit of prayer may transform us into a community of love and compassion: let us pray to the Lord.
  2. For our President and governors, and for all in government service, that they may work ceaselessly to protect the rights and dignity of all men, women, and children: let us pray to the Lord.
  3. For business men and women, for corporations and all financial institutions, that their quest for profits may not blind them to their responsibility to uphold the common good: let us pray to the Lord.
  4. For those who use, develop, and protect the environment, that God’s gift of the earth may be used in the service of the rich and poor alike for generations to come: let us pray to the Lord.
  5. For the sick and the suffering, for the poor and the needy, that they may know the goodness of God
    in our compassion and care: let us pray to the Lord.
  6. For the faithful who have died, that they may possess the life won for them by Christ: let us pray to the Lord.
  7. For the prayers we now make in the silence of our hearts:

Celebrant:
Father, may the spirit of our prayers live on in every moment of life you give us, so that we may seek first your justice and peace in all things. In Jesus’ name, we pray.

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