Pastor Corner 9/22/13
My thanks to all who fulfilled my expectations for our Parish Picnic. It was certainly a parish celebration and a blessing and joy for all those who attended. We are already making plans for next year!!
With joy comes the command to serve. It is very evident in today’ readings and as we welcome Fr. Richard Kunzman we can sense that service is his way of life and his witness is one of joy in service. Recognition comes with St. Paul who says: “First of All”.
“First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered.” The injustices in our world are becoming increasingly severe. The needy are being trampled on and the poor are destroyed. Millions of aborted babies, millions of starving people, and millions of refugees are only some of the injustices. The Christian response to these injustices must be faith. Only by faith can we remove these mountains (sin). We must express our faith by our works. Like the manager in today’s Gospel reading, Christians should be “enterprising” and take “initiative” in politics, economics, communications, education, etc.
Nevertheless, our first response to injustice should be prayer. Paul taught: “First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority. Prayer of this kind is good, and God our Savior is pleased with it, for He wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth”. When we pray first and act second, our actions will not be ineffective and misguided but powerful and redemptive. The Lord promised that the demons behind the injustices in our society will be driven out by faith expressed in prayer and fasting. Many of our actions are effective because our prayer and fasting have not been sufficient. So pray and fast according to God’s will, then act.
What lesson can we learn from this parable? The dishonest steward is commended for his shrewdness. The original meaning of “shrewdness” is “practical wisdom” or “prudence”. It is the ability to deal with a given situation, to see what needs to be done and to do it. A shrewd person exercises foresight, discernment, and judgment (the ability to see through and understand a situation and what will likely happen if he doesn’t take appropriate action). Jesus commends his listeners to be wise and prudent not just in the exercise of their material and financial resources, but more importantly in how they use these resources for advancing God’s kingdom and the work of the gospel. What we invest our time, money, and material resources in shows what we treasure or value the most.
Jesus warns us to invest in what is most important and crucial, that which lasts forever. When we invest in God’s kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy we are not only securing our relationship with God for all eternity, we are also promoting the spread of the Gospel and the advancement of God’s kingdom on earth. How we invest our lives and resources today has consequences not just for tomorrow or for the rest of our earthly lives but for eternity as well. How invested are you in the kingdom of God and in the things that last for eternity? Bottom line: What does our eternal retirement plan look like?