God Alone Is True Justice

09-22-2019Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

Deacon Ron Gerwatowski: At the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston our parishioner Ronald Gerwatowski was ordained by Cardinal Seán on this past Saturday, September 21, 2019 to the (permanent) Diaconate. Congratulations to Deacon Ron and also to his wife Kathleen and family. Next Sunday, September 29 at the 10:30 AM Mass, Deacon Ron will assist at his first parish Mass and also preach. We wish him God’s grace as he begins his ministry. Deacon Ron will be assigned to our Parish. He will be one of two deacons here. Deacon Guy will continue in his present role.

Pastoral Reflections: Our two thematically connected readings, the Old Testament and the Gospel, speak about messages of justice. These passages in a way shout the message that God alone is true justice. To know this is good, but it does not really still an upset heart. The scripture passages, in fact, are actually challenging our comfort and complacency, our lukewarm ways, our carless stewardship.

The prophet lived in a time in Israel when there was continually growing prosperity, but this was achieved at the cost of the powerless poor. Amos spoke to this quite plainly. He told the rich and super rich that he saw their horrible greed. They disliked having to rest from making money on the Sabbath; they also yearned to use illegal measures of weight to defraud people and make even more profit. Amos cried out against such blatant wholesale greed and promised that such injustice would not be forgotten in heaven. He knew people had to earn a living and make money, but to make it on the backs of the helpless was quite another matter. This avarice harms everyone, both the greedy and the poor. Both are worn down and rendered useless in trying to seek and serve God. One group is weighted by selfishness, the other crushed by poverty.

In the Gospel, Jesus talks about the crafty servant who sees “downsizing” heading his way. This quite clever by half steward actually creates his own “golden parachute.” Jesus finds him a marvel and ponders why cleverness is limited to the world of business. Jesus wonders why those who seek a special place in the reign of God lack such cleverness in action. Jesus praises the steward for using his resources quite shrewdly to protect his future. Surprisingly, Jesus wants us to use what has been entrusted to us to also protect our future. But Jesus, in addition, wants us to comprehend that the treasure we have been given stewardship over is not one that can be bartered away; it can only be given away, and also it must be given and shared freely with others, just as it has been given and shared freely with us.

It seems that we who seek the kingdom of God in the company of our family and friends need to be as focused and as shrewd as the steward in today’s Gospel story. We need to assess the gifts we have and then spend them thoughtfully on others. Remember that our goal is not to secure wealth, but to secure life with God.

9 AM Sunday Mass: Starting the first weekend in October the Children’s Liturgy of the Word will return to this Mass. There will be a change in format. On the first Sunday of the month, the priest will teach the lesson to the children in the main church; the other weekends, a docent will lead the children in the sacristy. Please invite your neighbors and friends who have children, especially in grades 1 through 4, to attend this Mass as a family. Bring them along with you.