Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Twenty-fifth Sunday in the Ordinary TimeC

Sunday of the 25 OTC

 

Readings: Amo 8:4-7; 1 Tim 2:1-8; Lk 16:1-13.

 

1/ Reading I: RSV Amos 8:4 Hear this, you who trample upon the needy, and bring the poor of the land to an end, 5 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, 6 that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and sell the refuse of the wheat?" 7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: "Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

2/ Reading II: RSV 1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. 3 This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time. 7 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. 8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.

3/ Gospel: RSV Luke 16:1 He also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. 2 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.' 3 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. 4 I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.' 5 So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, `How much do you owe my master?' 6 He said, `A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, `Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' 7 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.' 8 The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. 9 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. 10 "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. 11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own? 13 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."



I. THEME: We should pray for all peoples to administer God’s graces well. 

 

            Money has a mighty power in everywhere and at all times to blind people’ eyes insofar as they don’t recognize what is the ultimate goal of their life, what is the priority in life and what is good they must do and evil they must avoid. Understanding the temporal value of money, the punishments resulting from treating others unfairly and administering material things well, shall help people to use money according to God’s providence.

            Today readings concentrate on the important lesson which is to recognize the temporal value of money and how to administer it properly. In the first reading, the prophet Amos sternly warned those who worship money and treat others unfairly. If they don’t correct, God shall return to them according to every deed they do. In the second reading, St. Paul advised the faithful to pray for the kings and the leaders who govern them so that these people know how to administer God’s graces to bring peace and benefits for all people. In the Gospel, Jesus cited an example about the prudent acts of a shrewd steward who knew how to use his owner’s money to benefit him. Jesus also wants his disciples to use the temporal money to attain the eternal life for them.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: If sinners don’t repent, they shall receive the corresponding punishment.

1.1/ The prophet Amos accused the Israelites of two sins they violated against God.

            (1) Irreverence when they worship God: They reluctantly attend liturgy; while their body is before God, their soul pays attention to other things. They thought of different plans to earn money and wished the Sabbath is over soon so they could achieve their plans. They believed God with their lips and thought they can please God with the outside ceremonies. They don’t think of conversion and change their unjust treatment of others because either they don’t think they committed any sin or God doesn’t know what they are doing.

            (2) Unjustly treating others: They devised plans to become rich by unjustly treating the poor, such as:

            - Falsely measurements: They said to themselves, “We may make the ephah small and the shekel great, and deal deceitfully with false balances.” Ephah is a can which is used to measure wheat; they could make it smaller by twisting it. Shekel is the basic unit of money of the Israel; by making the ephah smaller, they shall earn more money. The balances or scales can be modified either by making the weight heavier by putting more tin underneath them or turn their balance point wrongly. In a word, they have many ways to earn more money without concerning whether their customers are widows, orphans or the poor.

            - Paying more attention to money than human dignity: The prophet Amos accused them, they “buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals.” The Jewish tradition has a habit that the borrower must hand his sandals for the lender; if he can’t pay back what he owns, his sandals shall be the proof. The lender can seize all of his belongings or take him as his slave.

            - Cheating: To trick their customers, they can sell the refuse of the wheat by put them at the base of a container and fill with the good wheat on top of them.

            All these sins are violated against God because whatever they did to others they did it to Him.

1.2/ The corresponding punishment: All their deeds, though could deceive their customers, but can never deceive God. The prophet Amos forewarned them: If they don’t repent, God shall punish all their sins; He shall never forget each one of their sins.

2/ Reading II: Let offer supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all peoples.

2.1/ All peoples need prayers.

            Social injustice happens in everywhere and at all times due to people’s unlimited greed. The leaders often use their power to take away the poor’s properties unjustly. When were maltreated, the oppressed easily has a tendency to pray to God for their destruction. Criticism, hatred and revenge, though easily to do, but they aren’t ways to build up the society because if people can get rid of one power, another one shall replace it; sometimes it is even worse than the former one. Therefore, it is better to offer prayers for them so that God might enlighten and change their heart that they know how to govern their people in justice and love.

            St Paul confirmed that way is good and pleased God. He wants everyone to recognize the truth and to have salvation; He doesn’t want anyone to perish. The faithful’s prayers together with their sacrifices have power to ask God to convert the leaders’ heart, to set up right orders in the society and to bring salvation for all people.

           

2.2/ In every place people should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.

            Paul knew very well about human weakness and sin because he himself experienced God’s love when he is still a sinner on the way to Damascus. At that time, he was very proud of his Jewish tradition and despised the Gentiles. He thought he can save himself by carefully observing the law; but his encounter with Christ on the way changed all his thoughts.

            Christ let him know that people are saved because of their faith in Christ who sacrificed himself to redeem people’s sins and he doesn’t want anyone to be lost. People live by graces which God bestows on them through Christ’s Death and Passion as He gives to him, not by their own power.

            Having such an experience, he realized that he is sent to announce this truth to people. He ascertained his mission and advised the faithful, “(As) 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 quarreling.”

 

3/ Gospel: “The sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”

            Before analyzing this parable, we need to emphasize one important thing, that is, when using a parable, the author only pays attention to one main thing and never intends to satisfy all things because it is impossible to do so. What Jesus wants people to pay attention to this parable is the steward’s way to solve the problem when he knew that he lost his job.      

3.1/ The way of solving the problem of the unfaithful steward: Right from the beginning, the author wanted to let the audience know he is an evil steward and that is the reason why he lost his job. A good steward is the one not only know how to administer but also to be truthful to his owner. The steward in this passage is shrewd, but not truthful, since he was accused of squandering his owner’s properties. Therefore, his owner called him and said, “What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.”

            He is a shrewd person; he knows how to use his owner’s possession as a mean to prepare for his future. When he knew he lost his job, he wondered, “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.”

            Verse 8 can cause misunderstanding; we need to differentiate two things: Verse 8a is the owner’s saying to the steward; he recognized his shrewdness in bluffing him to profit him legally. He praised his steward’s way of dealing, not his morality because no one praises or trust the one who deceives him. Verse 8b is Jesus’ word; he didn’t praise the shrewd steward, but he highlighted his shrewd acts with his friends.

            The expression “by means of unrighteous mammon” can also cause misunderstanding; does Jesus permit to use other’s possession to buy friends? This is a sin against justice; if one took it, he must return it to its owner. What Jesus wanted to say is that God gives material things for all people to use them; so, instead of squandering them, people should give them to the poor or the needy organization, so that “when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.” This verse is also in according to the Church’s teaching for sinners: If they can’t return what they took to the owner, they must use it to help the poor, not keep it for themselves.

3.2/ We must wisely administer God’s gifts.

            Verses 10-13 are Jesus’ teaching; they can stand by themselves. Lucas put them here because they are related to administration. We can analyze sentence-by-sentence.

            (1) Administration needs experience: The owner used to test his steward before giving him more important tasks. If he isn’t faithful in small tasks, the owner shall never give to him more important tasks.

            (2) Administration the spiritual is more important than the material goods: Similarly in the spiritual area, whoever is unfaithful in administering material things, God shall never let him administering spiritual things, such as: caring for the faithful’s souls and distributing graces through the sacraments.

            (3) The reward is only for the faithful steward: One receives a reward due to the fact that he showed his fidelity with his owner. No owner gives a reward for the unfaithful steward.

            (4) A steward can’t serve two masters: Not like in today society, a slave or a servant in the ancient time can only serve one master. Even today a person can serve two masters, but his loyalty to them is different: “Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”

            Similarly in serving God, as Jesus said, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Many people think in opposite with Christ’s teaching; they think they can serve both God and mammon. For examples, the Pharisees: “Who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they scoffed at him” (Lk 16:14). There are also many people, because of their greed for richness, have no time for God, even refuse to participate in the Sunday Mass.

           

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - Money is also the mean for living in this world. We should never let money to govern our life, or especially, let it replace God.

            - The greed of money easily let us treat the poor unjustly. We must be careful because God shall judge us about all these injustices.

            - The best way to have social justice is to pray God to enlighten and to change the worldly leaders so they might know how to administer well God’s gifts for people. 

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