What Money Cannot Buy

25th Sunday of Ordinary Time
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

Today’s liturgy reminds us that we are God’s stewards and that God expects faithful and prudent stewardship from us. The readings challenge us to use our God-given talents, wealth, and blessings wisely to attain Heavenly bliss. Today’s first reading from the book of Amos speaks against greed. The prophet speaks for the poor and the needy. They have God as their protector. The Israelites were waiting impatiently for the end of the holy days and Sabbaths so that they could proceed with their dishonest practices. In this specific case, the feast of the new moon was taking place. According to tradition, the first day of the new moon, like the Sabbath, was a day of rest. During these celebrations, without exception, no business was to be transacted. However, the Israelites were violating the Lord’s commands and drew His condemnation.

In today’s second reading, St. Paul invites us to pray for everyone, especially kings, rulers, leaders, and all those in charge. This prayer is necessary for conversion because, once we are converted we avoid corruption, injustice, and greed. Oppression of the poor is removed from our society. If everyone was to pray for those in authority, there would be better persons in power and better service to the public. Then, all people may live a quiet and peaceable life and come to salvation through the one mediator, Christ Jesus.

In the gospel, Jesus brings to light the fact that money and material things do not last forever, and therefore He advises us on how to make use of them without losing our salvation. It is the will of God that we should be happy here and have a share in the rich resources with which he endowed our world. The parable points out that Christians should be as prudent and resourceful in acquiring goodness as the steward was in acquiring money and making his future safe. Christians must give as much attention to things that concern their souls as they do to the things that concern worldly matters.

Jesus reminds us that earthly resources will eventually run out. Hence, our material possessions should be used for the good of others. The right use of wealth is, according to Jesus, to help the poor, the hungry, and the starving. That is the way that we make friends with God and please God.

There are many people in the Catholic Church who understand that God has given us money so that we can be generous to the needy, the poor, and the starving. Thus many of us are making wise investments for the future. Our Heavenly destiny depends on how we use the things of earth. Jesus gives us this parable in order to help us to see that our time is coming to an end and that we need to prepare an accounting. We must check whether we were using God’s gifts of wealth, health, talents, and other blessings selfishly. Or, were we using them for His glory by sharing them with others? Money is an instrument that can buy everything but happiness. It can purchase a ticket to every place but Heaven.

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