Trustworthy in Serving Christ as our One Master, 31st Saturday (I), November 11, 2017

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Regnum Christi Community Atlanta
Saturday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
Memorial of St. Martin of Tours
November 11, 2017
Rom 16:3-9.16.22-27, Ps 145, Lk 16:9-15

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Continuing upon what the told us yesterday, Jesus today wants us to show us how to be children of the light just as savvy about what really matters as children of this age are in what doesn’t matter. He wants to help us to determine quite clearly where we’re going to place our value: in the things of this world or the things that will last. Jesus indicates that we cannot serve both God and mammon because we can only have one master. In the ancient world this was clear: when a slave had to obey two people — two sons, for example, of the same deceased master — he would be drawn and quartered because he couldn’t serve them both totally since they would often be in conflict. Today, in an age of freedom and multiple jobs, we can have multiple “bosses” and often the jobs will not conflict. But it’s not that way in the spiritual life. We have to choose. We’re either going to be a full-time servant of the Master, translating everything for his kingdom, or we’re going to be a full-time servant of mammon. Either we’ll use the things of this world to serve God and build his kingdom, or we’ll try to use God in order to serve ourselves materially and build our kingdom. That’s what he communicates to us in his words about  “dishonest wealth.” It doesn’t mean that it’s ill-obtained; it means that it’s not true wealth. The currencies of this world are just fancier monopoly money in a much longer and important game. Possessions, gold and silver are all ultimately going to be just as valuable to sand, or rocks or charcoal. The only wealth that matters in the final analysis is what rust can’t corrode, thieves can’t steal, and the IRS can’t tax, what Jesus elsewhere indicates as becoming rich in God. But the way we handle the transient goods of this world is an indication of the way we can be trusted with the far more important treasures of the faith; just like people of the world invest earthly sums to make them grow, so we’re called to do so with the talents of faith.
  • The saint we celebrate today also shows us that we cannot serve two masters. St. Martin of Tours was the son of a pagan army officer and was brought into the Roman army as a teenager. Eventually he was stationed to Amiens in the north of France which is where his celebrated conversion took place. He was on patrol duty one frigid night when he saw a shivering, lightly clad man begging for alms near the city gate. Martin was shocked that no one was giving this man assistance. He had no money on him; all he had was his horse, his armor and his own clothes. But he dismounted, took out his Roman lance, and cut his military cappa in two, covering the beggar with half and wearing the other half himself. Later that night, Jesus appeared to him in a dream dressed in the half of the cape given to the beggar, teaching Martin that whenever he cared for, whenever he served, anyone else, he was caring for Christ himself. He was a catechumen at this point but immediately sought and received baptism. Knowing that he could not fully live the Gospel and live by the principles of the Roman army at the time, he soon after he left the army, put himself under the charge of St. Hilary of Poitiers and began a life of prayer as a hermit, which is how he lived for more than a decade. In 371, the Christians of Tours demanded him to be ordained their bishop. And he sought to prove himself trustworthy in the things, little and great, with which he was entrusted. He fought very hard against the paganism of the terrority and against heresies in Christianity. He traveled all throughout his enormous diocese by good, on a donkey or by boat. He never stopped serving. Even when it was clear that his ascetical life, age and hard work were catching up with him, he kept going on. There was  controversy in the parish of Candes because of disputes among priests and he wanted to go. Those around him tried to prevent his going, saying he would likely die on the way. He turned to the Lord and said, “Lord, if your people still need me, I am ready for the task. Your will be done.” He went and reconciled the priests and people. But he informed them that he was about to die. As he lay on his death bed, they wanted to turn him around to prevent bedsores, but he said, “Allow me to look to heaven rather than at earth, so that my spirit may set on the right course when the time comes for me to go on my journey to the Lord.” He always sought to keep his eyes on his Master and serve him until the end.
  • Today St. Paul similarly mentions in his final Chapter of the Letter to the Romans 24 people who served Christ as their true master, who used everything, including their life, for the Gospel. SS. Prisca and Aquila and the rest of those St. Paul names were full-time servants of God characterized by an “obedience of faith” that they tried to share with others as the source of real freedom. They’re interceding for us that we may likewise loving obey God ever strengthened in faith so that we may, like them, be his good, faithful, prudent and full-time servants, handling the transient wealth in this world in such a way that we may be entrusted ever more with the riches of the kingdom and come with them to live eternally today’s Responsorial Psalm, blessing the Lord and praising his name forever and ever.

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 ROM 16:3-9, 16, 22-27

Brothers and sisters:
Greet Prisca and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus,
who risked their necks for my life,
to whom not only I am grateful but also all the churches of the Gentiles;
greet also the Church at their house.
Greet my beloved Epaenetus,
who was the firstfruits in Asia for Christ.
Greet Mary, who has worked hard for you.
Greet Andronicus and Junia,
my relatives and my fellow prisoners;
they are prominent among the Apostles
and they were in Christ before me.
Greet Ampliatus, my beloved in the Lord.
Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ,
and my beloved Stachys.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the churches of Christ greet you.
I, Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord.
Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole Church, greets you.
Erastus, the city treasurer,
and our brother Quartus greet you.Now to him who can strengthen you,
according to my Gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
but now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
according to the command of the eternal God,
made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,
to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm PS 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11

R. (1b) I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. I will praise your name for ever, Lord.

Alleluia 2 COR 8:9

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel LK 16:9-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
“I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth,
so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.
If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth,
who will trust you with true wealth?
If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another,
who will give you what is yours?
No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Pharisees, who loved money,
heard all these things and sneered at him.
And he said to them,
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts;
for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”