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Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

You cannot be the slave both of God and money.

The Word This Week

How easy to take the words of Jesus out of context: “Use money to win you friends,” is one of those lines that sounds strange to us outside the context of the parable and the teaching in today’s Gospel. Even the parable itself can seem a little strange – is Jesus really recommending that we act like dishonest stewards? No, of course not! The point that reveals this is hidden half way down: “The children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind…” Jesus in a way praises the effort of the dishonest steward, but wishes that it was directed less to worldly things, but to the things of heaven. And this is the message that we are to take: where do we direct our energies – to making money, fame, fortune and success, or to finding “friends in heaven”?

Notes for Readers

First Reading: Amos 8:4-7

Amos was a simple shepherd who became a prophet – someone who spoke God’s words and tried to share God’s vision with the people. Today we hear a powerful passage where he denounces the traders and businessmen who put money above people. There is a contemporary message in this passage – think about how you would change the examples Amos gives for our own age (though “tampering with the scales” is something that still goes on!) There has to be a very direct and challenging tone to this reading – we would not be being true to God’s word otherwise. When you prepare the reading, try to find a feeling of indignation inside yourself – say “It’s not right, it’s not fair.” Don’t accuse your congregation, but let them hear that God is on the side of the poor!


Second Reading: 1 Timothy 2:1-8

After the introduction (see last week) Paul gets into his advice to the young bishop about how to run the Church. The priority is prayer, and a key distinction is that this is “prayers offered for everyone”. Paul is emphasising that the Church is not a “members-only club”, but that everyone should be saved, and that we, therefore, should pray for everyone. Be careful, as usual, with Saint Paul’s sentences: take your time when reading, and allow people to take the various points in, one after another, and so follow the argument. After the opening statement, which should be easy to follow, the argument gets a little complicated: make sure that you yourself understand what Saint Paul is saying, and this will ensure that your listeners will do the same.


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