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Ransomed (25thOrdinary Sunday: Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13) The dishonest steward of today’s parable was a clever man. Faced with an audit, and in danger of losing everything, he compounded his crimes and acted boldly to ensure his future. Even... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 24th Ordinary Sunday -...
Lost. Found. Joyful. (24thOrdinary Sunday: Exodus 32:7-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32) Today the Church offers us the entire fifteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel. It contains three parables about recovering what was lost, all in response to the single... Czytaj więcej
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Careful Planning (23rd Ordinary Sunday: Wisdom 9:13-18; Philemon 9-17; Luke 14:25-33) Usually the first reading is selected because it has some connection with the Gospel of the day. But it is hard today to see what that might be. When Jesus tells us to hate our... Czytaj więcej
Fr. René Butler MS - 22nd Ordinary Sunday -...
Lowest Place (22ndOrdinary Sunday: Sirach 3: 17-29; Hebrews 12:18-24; Luke 14:7-14) Appearing in the French Alps, Mary abided by the injunction of the first reading: “Humble yourself the more, the greater you are.” She did not choose the “lowest... Czytaj więcej
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Peaceful Fruit (21st Ordinary Sunday: Isaiah 66:18-21; Hebrews 12:5-13; Luke 13:22-30) The author of the Letter to the Hebrews displays common sense when he writes, “All discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain.” Who among us has not had this... Czytaj więcej
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Ransomed

(25thOrdinary Sunday: Amos 8:4-7; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13)

The dishonest steward of today’s parable was a clever man. Faced with an audit, and in danger of losing everything, he compounded his crimes and acted boldly to ensure his future. Even the master whom he was cheating had to give him credit for his foresightedness.

The steward embezzled his employer’s property to save himself. Jesus applies this in a curious way to his disciples: “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

While the first reading and the Gospel focus on money, St. Paul writes: “There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all.” Here all the readings converge.

A ransom is the price paid to secure the release of captives. In our case, however, no money exchanged hands. In 1 Peter 1:18-19, we read: “You were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.”

Twice in the Gospel text, money is described as dishonest, and Jesus states emphatically that we cannot serve it and God at the same time. 

At La Salette, Mary did not mention money, but she spoke a lot about the local economy, which was, quite naturally, an ongoing concern of the people of the area; in 1846, it was rapidly becoming an obsession. If the crops continued to fail, disaster was inevitable.

The Beautiful Lady acknowledged that reality. Referring to the potatoes, she said, “By Christmas this year, there will be none left.”

Besides sympathizing with her people’s plight, however, she had something to teach them. Not being able to serve two masters, they had made the wrong choice. Their devotion to the hope of prosperity for its own sake had left them, literally, unsatisfied. Mary speaks clearly: abundance is possible, “if they are converted.”

In other words, we need to recognize that we have been ransomed, and at what a price! This shows us just how precious we are in God’s sight.

Published in MISSION (EN)

Lost. Found. Joyful.

(24thOrdinary Sunday: Exodus 32:7-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-32)

Today the Church offers us the entire fifteenth chapter of Luke’s Gospel. It contains three parables about recovering what was lost, all in response to the single criticism of the Pharisees and scribes: “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” The theme in each case is: There is “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.”

Sin is evident in the other readings as well. God’s wrath flared up when he saw his people worshiping the molten calf. Moses reminded him of his oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and “the Lord relented in the punishment he had threatened to inflict on his people.”

Psalm 106:23 summarizes this episode as follows: “[The Lord] would have decreed their destruction, had not Moses, his chosen one, withstood him in the breach to turn back his destroying anger.” This is how the words of Mary at La Salette, about the arm of her Son, have been understood from the beginning, although today various more nuanced explanations have also been proposed.

St. Paul is deeply conscious of his sinful past as a persecutor, and of the mercy that God has shown him. The transformation has been remarkable, and Paul is eager to spread the word that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This means that those who acknowledge their sinfulness may be confident of a merciful hearing. The Beautiful Lady reminds her people of their sins, precisely in view of offering hope of forgiveness.

In the first two parables, the concept of sin cannot be directly applied to a sheep or a coin; but Jesus equates being a sinner with being lost.

The third, on the other hand, perhaps the most beloved of all the parables, describes the sin of the younger son in detail, and the depths of despair into which he falls. Another important difference is that the father does not search for the son, but in his mercy watches and waits.

The Blessed Virgin of La Salette could wait no longer. The urgency of her message is clear. Her people were lost. She came to find them, so that they could in turn find her Son and be welcomed back by him in joy.

Published in MISSION (EN)
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