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Contents: Volume 2 - 25th Sunday - C
September 18, 2022







1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Dennis Keller

3. -- Brian Gleeson CP

4. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ

5. --(Your reflection can be here!)





Sun. 25 C 2022

The readings this Sunday point us in the direction of right living. The selection from the Book of Amos contains a strong warning against people who trample upon the needy in some way. The Gospel story can appear a bit confusing but, it too, reminds us to be good stewards of what we have been given and to be trustworthy in our dealings.

The excerpt from the Letter to Timothy is what caught my attention most, however. It is a reminder to everyone but especially to those in authority of their obligation to lead in ways that provide a quiet and tranquil life for all. For me, it raises the question of what needs to be changed in our world so that it actually becomes more quiet and tranquil?

In all things, change begins with each of us as individuals. Where is it that I can encourage peacefulness in my heart? Where in my residence, workplace, parish, and community can I tone down the rhetoric, both my own and others, and still be true to seeking truth and tranquility?

Those are deep questions. I think we all need to take a deep dive into such matters, however, If our society is to flourish. It seems at times that even survival mode, and not just for the marginalized, is at risk. We all will remain vulnerable unless each of us changes!!!

May I be bold enough to edit slightly from I Tim.2: 8: "It is my prayer, then, that in every place all people, should pray,

lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument." The Lord is all -knowing, all -loving, and all - powerful. Lord, hear our prayer!


Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity





Twenty Fifth Sunday of Ordered Time, September 18, 2022

Amos 8:4-7; Responsorial Psalm 113; 1st Timothy 2:1-8; Gospel Acclamation 2nd Corinthians 8:9; Luke 16:1-13

The first reading reminds me of recently shopping for food. A half-gallon of ice cream is now 1.5 quart. Sixteen ounces of bacon is now twelve. The retail is the same or more as it was for the larger volume. Packaging looks about the same so marketing and accounting teamed up to deceive the consumer while focusing on profit. Somehow, it doesn’t seem right. Has right and wrong given way to profitability? Has expedience and market share given way to honest business practices? Is there a new ethics based on wealth and/or power? How has this affected our practice of faith? Is truth, integrity, and loyalty to the Creator gotten lost amid job eliminating mergers and acquisitions? Where is the moral leadership of religious leadership and communities of faith in all this? Seemingly, the world of production, economics, finance, and marketing are being removed from consideration of right and wrong. The impact of socio-economic decisions on the poor and marginalized are often the new slavery. Disadvantaged persons lack access to education, to health care, and to living wage jobs. If our hope for salvation lies with the merciful, compassionate, and loving Father watching down the road for us coming home, then could we not expect a hue and cry against policies and practices that rob those on the margins of dignity and respect?

That’s pretty much what the prophet Amos is saying in the first reading. He shouts at the merchants and capitalists of the Northern Kingdom about their hypocrisy. They can’t wait till the Sabbath observance is over so they can once again buy and sell with bogus scales, and smaller measures for grain, vintage, and oil. The wealthy and powerful despise the lower class and subject them to slavery of poverty even though they are the source of labor for profitable production. The poor are easily bought for servitude for the price of a pair of cheap sandals.

The times were tough for the poor and uneducated in the time of the prophet Amos. Any good-hearted person of our time would shudder at those conditions during the time of Amos. Surely, we are far beyond that in our time and place. That’s the question we are required to answer. There is a shielding from consciousness of much of contemporary economic and social conditions. WE don’t know about the lives of workers in low paying jobs. Yet we enjoy fresh linens on beds of motels we frequent, never thinking of the lives of those who change the sheets, clean the bathrooms, sweep the floors. The clothing we purchase to present ourselves as successful and accent our physical beauty or strength, often come from factories in third world countries. Worker safety, livable wages, employment security, and health and pension support are lacking and part of the low costs of production. Do we know where and how those clothing items are fabricated?

The involuntary servitude of such economic practices keeps vast populations from possibilities for advancement. It must be very difficult to vision oneself as a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a politician, or even a minister when daily efforts are focused solely on survival. When race, gender, family economic status, and education rob persons of possibilities, there is something wrong. It is said that God, our compassionate, merciful, and just God insists that God’s justice is that all persons have what is needed by them to thrive, to flourish. If that is the will of God, then freedom means more than the right to vote. Freedom means access to what is necessary for that person to flourish, to become more than a slave.

When tax cuts that benefit the rich who already have the freedom to do as they choose, what value added is there? In order to maintain necessary revenue, the state often increases the cost of necessary services and fees which affect the poor more than the rich. Where is the hue and cry of socially conscious, social justice advocates in this regard? Apparently, what is hidden lacks impact. Immigrants seeking a better more human life for their families will work for cash under the table that is less than starvation wages. Yet the powers that be refuse to overhaul the immigration system even though many have investments that make use of undocumented immigrant labor. The families without access to quality education will see their children’s children still begging for the leftovers from the tables of the wealthy. Amos calls this hypocrisy. His preaching to the Northern Kingdom calls for repentance. Are we listening to his prophecy and seeing how it applies to our time and place?

Do we followers of Jesus have any obligation to know these things and apply our purchasing decisions to companies that treat employees with dignity? We Christians have our faith in a merciful, loving God. If we love this God, our hearts will listen and discover how we can apply his mercy and love to those around us. Is that not how we honor our God? Is that not how we honor the image and likeness of our God that exists in each person anywhere in our world? Is that not how we make the Lord present in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in our nation, and in our world? Idolatry is the worship of what is not God. Wealth, power, influence, and fame are not God and to worship them is a violation of the first commandment.

The gospel is really different this Sunday. Typically, in the parables of Jesus there is a good guy and a bad guy or guys. This Sunday the bad guy is the dishonest steward who has been skimming off his masters’ share from the master’s sharecroppers. When the master returns home from his extended vacation, he discovers the theft by his steward. Instead of ranting and threatening, the master commends the methods of the steward as a great business practice. That is really odd; that the master commends his slave who had stolen from him. The lack of a moral compass within master and slave is appalling. It is a violation of integrity and of truth. Such behavior is possible only when a person’s god is other than the Creator. How can anyone ever trust either the slave or the master? Yet wealth, power, and fame are blinders focusing our attention on outcomes rather than methods and schemes.

Jesus ends his parable speaking about serving. The masters Jesus is talking about is either the loving, merciful, compassionate, loving kindness God, or the gods of the world. The siren song of the world entices us to fall in line with the gods of the world. It’s how we get ahead; it’s how we enjoy a higher standard of living. It’s the price we pay to gain power, to live comfortably, and to be popular.

What’s silly about this formula that demands we fall in step with the way of the world is that we can serve the living God of mercy, compassion, and unconditional love and still compete. The secret is choosing the God who is our source and creator. The things of the world demand our every moment, are the sole focus of work and relationships. The way of the world becomes our god, made by mankind in mankind’s image and likeness. When we serve the living God, we take care to practice mercy, compassion, and unconditional love for mankind and for all of creation. We see ourselves as members of a community and choose the common good over personal acquisitions. It’s a terrifically difficult balancing act this following the Living God. At the center of this is the belief and practice that every person is precious in the heart of God. The practice of mercy, compassion, unconditional selfless love takes practice. Jesus’ admonition in this Sunday’s gospel becomes our personal measure of a fruitful life. "The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones." Integrity is essential. Compassion and mercy are essential. Unconditional love for others and for all of creation is the most difficult part of this following of the Lord. Letting go of self-centered living and a commitment to living as members of our whole community is the goal. That living in the whole community is often summarized by thinking about being a member of the Mystical Body of the Christ. In that Body are found the wealthy, the powerful, the widows and orphans, the alien in our midst, our families – especially our families. Mammon can never replace the power of love. For love, as St. John tells us, is what God is about.

Dennis Keller





SERVING GOD NOT GREED, September 18, 2022

You and I are creatures of flesh, bone, blood, and soul. To stay alive and thrive, we need our Mother Earth. We need her for air, water, food, and heat. We need her for covering and shelter. We need her to stimulate our minds and spirits. So, in principle, it cannot be wrong to use the earth for our needs.

On the other hand, our use of the earth raises moral questions, especially today when the human population of the planet is more than seven billion people and steadily increasing. So, we have to ask ourselves: How much do we really need? How much do we have a right to? When might we be abusing or exploiting God’s gifts? When might we be simply hoarding?

To be more specific, we need to ask ourselves: How much and what quality of food do we have the right to eat when so many others across the globe are hungry or starving? How many changes of clothes are we entitled to when others have hardly a change of clothes? How elaborate a home are we entitled to when others are homeless or living in hovels? How much beauty can we claim for ourselves when others are living in filth and squalor?

These questions, I admit, are complex and difficult to answer exactly. Surely the merchants in the reading from Amos today had a right to buy and sell. So, they should not be faulted simply because they were prosperous while others were poor. Nor should the manager in the gospel be blamed for not being needy. Neither can we be criticized for putting resources aside for future use. For the education of children e.g., for future medical needs, for retirement, and even for a holiday. But the question remains: – How much do we really need? And are there any limits to our rights of ownership?

Our consumer society tells us that we have a right to everything we earn or might earn. But do we? In a world of limited and dwindling resources, how much is too much? What does the balance of the earth say to us? What do the legitimate needs of others tell us? What does our faith as followers of Jesus suggest? In these matters of life and death, what does it mean to act as ‘children of the light’?

In this whole area, there are no easy answers and no pat answers. While we do have the right to use and enjoy the resources of our world, we cannot do this without a sense of responsibility to others who share our planet and to the planet itself. The persons in today’s readings are not condemned because they were better off than others, but because they used their wealth only for their personal advantage, benefit, and enrichment. With them, it was self first, last. and always.

You and I are much more than greedy and insatiable consumers. Our value and dignity do not consist in our possessions but in the quality of our relationships, and especially the quality of our relationships with our deprived and needy fellow human beings all over the earth. We may never know if our decisions in this area are the best ones we could make. But being fair, just, and loving people do require us to think about, grapple with, and respond to the challenging issues of sharing Mother Earth and her resources with the whole human race. Collectively and individually, we must not squander the resources of our world. We must make decisions as trustworthy and responsible administrators of the gifts of God, and not be like that man in the gospel who was concerned only with himself and his well-being.

In short, Jesus calls us to serve God, not greed! Let me say that one more time: – Jesus calls us to serve God, not greed!

Brian Gleeson <>





Year C: 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

"If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, then who will trust you with genuine riches?"

I remember. It was when I was in the second year of the Jesuit Noviceship that I got to be really ambitious. There was a job that I really wanted to have. It was the job of House Treasurer - the man in charge of the community’s money. It wasn’t, you understand, that I particularly wanted to be in charge of the money - simply that it was the middle of the winter and three afternoons a week, the Treasurer got to sit warm, comfortable and snug in his own little office with a three-bar electric fire to keep him warm, while the other novices had to go out into the wind, rain, sleet and (quite often) snow to work in the grounds - something which, I had discovered, I did not enjoy. So I let it be known that, what with my A-level in mathematics and my manifest suitability for responsible positions, if it was the will of God and for the good of the community I would be sacrifice myself in this way.

But no, they gave the job to another man called John - a man who had only joined the Noviceship two weeks before. And they told me to keep up the good work with the vegetable patch.

I was a bit upset about this and, perhaps unwisely, I mentioned it to the Novice Master. I remarked that in no other well-conducted organisation would they take someone who had only just arrived and put him in charge of the money. Please understand that I’m not necessarily saying anything against his honesty. But we don’t even know if he can count!

The novice master just looked at me. And then he said: "Paul: two things you need to understand.

Number one: we never give the money job to anybody who actually wants it, because the people who want it don’t generally want it for the right reasons.

Number two: John is here, like yourself, to begin a process of training after which, if he is selected, we will trust him with membership of the Society of Jesus

With ordination as a priest,

with the reputation of the Church,

with the Body and Blood of Christ.

If he cannot even be trusted with money, then it’s best we find that out now, before we trust him with something important.

Why don’t you go away and pray about that?"

I hope I learned a lot from that day:

A lot about where my priorities truly lie.

A lot about the responsibilities with which I have been entrusted by you and the rest of the Church.

A lot about the responsibility we all have to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Every week I have the immense privilege of standing in front of you and of consecrating in our Eucharist all the good that you have done in the course of this week in building up the kingdom of God in your own lives, in your own homes, in your own families, in your own communities. And all the good you have tried to do and all the good that God has done in and through you, perhaps even without you even knowing about it.

And I have the privilege of leading you in prayer for the week that is to come that all of us may be God’s people in the world. And to give you God’s blessing for the even greater work that you shall do in the week that is to come.

And that all of us may do whatever is in our power for the love of God and the service of God’s people.

In my life as a Jesuit priest, I have been given an immensity of privileges, but let me assure you, none greater than this.

And I hope I have learned also a lot about what it is to be trusted - as we all are with the only thing in this world that is of ultimate value - that is the Good News of Jesus Christ. That is the only thing that we will take with us.

Because every one of us has been entrusted with the Death and Resurrection of Christ. As St Paul says, each of us carries with us in our own bodies, the death of Christ crucified. And each of us builds our lives on the Good News of His Resurrection. And each of us carries the responsibility of making God known and loved in the World.

And each of us has been entrusted with the most sacred responsibility of all: the love of family and friends.

Let us pray for the people who love us and who trust us.

Let us pray to be worthy of that Trust.

And let us stand and profess our Faith in God’s Grace and power to make us capable of fulfilling our responsibilities.

Paul O'Reilly SJ <>




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