Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost—22 July A.D. 2012

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Text]
[Latin Text]


    If we read the Old Testament, we generally get the picture of a jealous God—an angry God—one who kept His people in line.  They were punished with plague and famine, and even death for their transgressions.  They had to rigorously observe even the minute prescriptions of the law.

    We can only assume that in His wisdom, God determined that this was necessary—perhaps in order to make His newly acquired followers aware of His great dignity and power.  Even with this stern treatment, we often read of His people straying from His ways; straying after false gods.  The account of the Exodus from Egypt is one story after another of God’s people complaining about their treatment, tempting God to do better, and following after the “gods” of the gentile nations that they encountered in the desert.  Were it not for the intercession of men like Moses and Phinees, He might have destroyed them all together.[1]

    But God reveals Himself to us in the New Testament in a different way.  He is the God of love—a God who loves His people, a God who wants to be loved by His people, and a God who wants His people to love one another.

    Even though mankind had offended Him through the original sin of Adam, He did not hold us strictly responsible for that sin, but, instead, sent His Son to die for us on the Cross—taking our burden upon Himself.

    He tells us that if we are “led by the Spirit of God, we are the sons of God.”  That we can call God “Abba:  our Father.”[2]  Indeed, He teaches us to call upon God with just those words:  “Our Father, who art in heaven.”[3]  He tells us through Saint Paul that “we are joint heirs with Christ,” the Son of God.

    This is the message we hear at the end of most Masses, in the “Last Gospel.”

... as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. [13] Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.[4]

We become God’s adopted sons and daughters, not by doing the will of the flesh—the will of man—but by doing God’s will, as though it were our own.

    Today, our Lord is telling us that we should make use of this relationship with the Father.  In today's Gospel He is not telling us to be dishonest, but rather that we should take advantage as adopted sons and daughters to lay up treasure in heaven.  The rich man would be upset with the actions of the steward, because theirs was a business relationship, wherein one is supposed to pay and the other is supposed to get according to strict justice.  But the relationship of a father to his sons and daughters is quite different—raising children is certainly not a business!  The good father takes pleasure in his children’s use of his possessions, as long as they are used for the children’s good.  He wants them to eat well, to dress attractively, to learn his trade and how to administer his property—he hopes that one day, when he is gone, it will all be theirs, and they will continue to make use of it.

    While we are here on Earth, we must prepare for the kingdom of Heaven, figuratively placing God in our debt.  While we live, we have the opportunity to store up some credits for eternity:

            ● By our prayers

            ● By our good works, fasting, and penance

            ● By reception of the Sacraments

            ● By our faith in God's revelation

            ● By spreading His truth, so others may know Him

            ● By our hope and our charity

            ● By calling upon Him, His Blessed Mother, and the Saints.

    So, that's what our Lord is telling us today.  We aren't being urged to dishonesty—far from it.  But we are being urged to remember that we are sons and daughters of God; brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

    And we are being urged to make use of that relationship, so that at the end of our earthly lives, we will have our treasure in heaven, and God will receive us into His everlasting dwelling.

Dei via est íntegra
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