St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, C, 16

It’s no accident that Luke includes two of Jesus’ parables on squandering resources back to back: the prodigal son and the dishonest steward. In one case the son came to his senses and returned to his father, thinking about how even the servants had enough to eat while he was starving. In the other, the steward devised a plan by which he would be welcomed by others to their homes and be able to be fed.

On the last Monday of June, I discovered I couldn’t find my credit card. A feeling a panic set in. I searched everywhere in the rectory, opening every drawer, not once but multiple times. I looked underneath cushions, checked my jacket pockets, and even dove through the waste baskets and sorted the laundry. All to no avail.

“Who can know God’s counsel, or who can conceive what the Lord intends?”1

In Luke’s Gospel Jesus is journeying to Jerusalem. The great crowd of followers expected him to be welcomed as the Christ, the Messiah; and, they were hoping to bask in his reflected glory.

Not so fast!

Jesus suddenly turns and cries out:

When we hear the word "greed", we almost automatically think about money or possessions. Certainly Qoheleth and Jesus are referring to them, Qoheleth about the vanity about working so hard to accumulate wealth with an anxious heart; Jesus speaking a parable about a man who used "I" more times than is found in Mississippi. Paul continues that theme by advising to "seek what is above, not of what is on earth" and "to put to death...immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry" which is like worshipping a false god.
 
Greed puts the emphasis on me, my ego, the big fat "I". That was the problem of the man in the parable. It was all about him, not sharing his good fortune with the people who worked his land for him but thinking of his own future comfort. He lived a life that was the very opposite of Christian ethos. Instead of giving, he was hoarding.  
 
But Jesus adds: "Take care to guard against all greed." What could he possibly mean? Again, greed puts the emphasis on me, my ego, the big fat "I".
 
For each of us, the answer to all greed might be a bit different, but here are some possibilities:

  • Do I always have to be right?
  • Do I always want my own way?
  • Do I seek and ask of others perfection?
  • Do I try to please everyone so everyone will like me?

It isn't all about me and mine. As we learned last week in praying the Our Father, it's about us and our.

There is a saying used in the sports world, and many times in the business world as well, that has become a cliché: “There’s no ‘I’ in team.”  

Nor is there any “I” in the “Our Father”.  The “Our Father” is a community prayer, a family prayer, even when recited alone. It contains our, us and we and not my, me or I.

Certainly Luke’s version is somewhat different than what the Church made the ‘official’ version from Matthew’s Gospel, but both are in agreement in their use of pronouns.

Whichever version you pray, Jesus is telling us something important: Even in prayer, the Kingdom is about community.

And, guess what?

There’s no “I” in heaven either.

As a country we celebrate our freedom this weekend. In the Gospel, Jesus sends out his disciples free from luggage to prepare for his coming in every town and place he intended to visit. They are to be unencumbered, focusing on the task at hand.  “Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals.” What they were bringing along was much more important: the good news that “The kingdom of God is at hand for you.”

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