Homily for 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

posted Sep 23, 2016, 12:27 PM by Church Office   [ updated Sep 23, 2016, 12:27 PM by Michelle Massung ]

            In 1983, I finished my sales training at Digital Equipment Corporation and was given a sales territory just west of 

Philadelphia. I was very anxious to get off on the right foot with my Sales Manager, Herb Cline.   During the first few months, I

 discovered many new prospects for the products and services.  Quickly, I started to calculate the potential commissions I 

would earn when I closed each sale. As you can imagine, the higher the commission potential, the more attention I gave to 

that prospect.  Things were going along smoothly and I was on the verge of closing several deals when all of a sudden, my 

prospects started to buy from my competitor, IBM, instead of from me.  When I asked them why they purchased from IBM 

rather than from me, especially since my computers cost less and ran faster, the prospects told me that IBM was more 

concerned about solving their business problem rather than just getting the sale.  What a blow to my ego and to my 

commissions. Yet, I had to admit they were right.  My focus was on my personal gain in making the sale and not on the 

benefits they would receive from using my products. As a result of this hard learned lesson, I completely changed my sales 

approach from one of satisfying my needs to satisfying the needs of my clients.  Consequently, this change in attitude led me 

to have a very successful sales career. 

            The Steward in today’s Gospel had a similar dilemma.  He was overcharging the people he was in charge of and some of them complained to his master. They blew the whistle on him. In a similar manner to what I did in my sales territory, the steward cut his commissions and as a result, was able to keep the people happy and give a good return to his master.  As a result, he was able to keep his job.

            In both cases, it took a change of heart from selfishness and self-centeredness to one of generosity and love for others.  Yet, this change of heart is not always easy to do or it takes some dire circumstance in our lives to make this change.  To me, it was earning a living, to the steward; it was the threat of being fired.  This is so unfortunate that it takes some major consequence in our lives to occur before a change is made.  It tragically reminds me of the installation of a traffic light at an intersection.  How many people have to die at that intersection before a traffic light is installed.

            Jesus tells us in the Gospel how to know if we are on the right path of generosity and selflessness or on the path of greed and self-centeredness.  If we are dishonest with small things in our lives, then chances are we are on our way to being dishonest with larger things in our lives.  For instance, if we are dishonest with our expense report at the office, are we going to be dishonest with our income tax return down the road? Or if you steal a few pieces of candy at the grocery store, are you on your way to shoplifting at a store? Or if you steal music or software, what other things will you steal in the future? Or if you tell little white lies, how honest will you be in other aspects of your life?  I could go on and on with other examples but I think you get the idea.  The point is to change your behavior before a drastic event occurs like you being audited by the IRS or you are arrested for shoplifting, or expelled from school for cheating. 

            Jesus tells us that we cannot serve two masters. By this he means that our natural inclination will be to either self serving or to be a servant for others.  For where our heart is, this where our actions will follow.  What is difficult about this change is that there is no compelling reason to do so, just like there was no compelling reason for the city to put up the traffic light until X number of people died at that intersection.  Well today, I hope to give you that compelling reason.  The salvation of your soul depends on your attitude towards others compared to your attitude of fulfilling your selfish desires.  How you handle the small gifts given to you by God will help determine how you handle large gifts from God.  I see this in my own life constantly.  I used to help put on retreats for about 100 people on any given weekend and now, I give homilies and teach and touch the lives of hundreds of people each weekend.  Didn’t your company do the same for you? You had to prove you could handle the easy tasks and as a result, of your demonstration of your ability to handle these responsibilities, you were promoted and paid more money.  You did the same to your children when you were raising them. You would give them chores to do in a way that they could show they were responsible in small matters compared to giving them the responsibility of driving a car. It is the same with your spiritual life.  God entrusts you with your soul and the souls of your family.  Are you being a responsible steward towards those souls or are you trying to take short cuts or cheat God? Are you really being honest with yourself in this responsibility entrusted to you? This week, look honestly at your relationship with God and see if you have been using your gifts for the benefit of others or for your own benefit.  Would God call you a good and faithful servant, or a dishonest steward?