My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
So, as we gather for this celebration, we have to reflect on the beautiful reality — truth — that a bishop shares in the noble mission that Jesus Christ entrusted to the apostles.
We find these simple words in Mark’s Gospel that define the bishop’s whole identity and purpose. St. Mark says in his Gospel: “And he appointed twelve to be with him, and to be sent out to preach.”[i]
This is the vocation of a bishop. And yes, it is our vocation, my dear brothers.
We are called to be with Jesus. And we are sent out to preach. The bishops must be formed and transformed by his daily encounter with the life of Christ. And he is sent out as a good shepherd to seek the lost and to bring them to Jesus.
In the second reading today, we hear the words of the Apostle St. Paul:
For there is one God.
There is also one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as ransom for all.
This was the testimony at the proper time.
For this I was appointed preacher and apostle.
Beautiful words from St. Paul.
So my dear brothers and sisters, we especially reflect on the fact that the Church is a supernatural organization, not like any earthly institution. We are connected in time and space with the first Christians, the first apostles, those who walked with Jesus and witnessed to his Resurrection.
So Jesus is the only way for us. He is the one mediator, as St. Paul tells us. There is no other way to heaven.
This is the beautiful reality of God’s love. We are looking for God, each of us. We are born with that hunger in our hearts. God knows that because he created us, he made us to belong to him.
This is the beautiful reality of God’s love. We are looking for God, we are born with that hunger in our hearts.
And he sends Jesus to be the way for us, our truth and our life. As we know, if we want to find God, we need to follow Jesus.
And that is what our Lord is talking about in the Gospel today — how to find God, how to come to live with him forever in heaven.
I was reflecting that it is an interesting parable that Jesus tells us today. But it’s realistic. It could be a story that we hear in the news.
And I think what is surprising in the parable is that we do not expect the master’s response. His master, he does not get angry — just the opposite, it’s interesting.
He praises the steward and Jesus tells us: “And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.”
Jesus praises the dishonest steward. Why? It kind of doesn’t make sense, no? And he explains it this way:
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than are the children of light.
I think Jesus is calling our attention to something here. He’s noticing that people work really hard, they sacrifice and strive just to gain the things of this world. They will plan and they will come up with all kinds of clever ideas. Just like that dishonest steward.
And probably we all hear stories like that every day, in our lives and in our society, of people who will do anything to get ahead — to acquire money or material things, to obtain power, fame or passing popularity.
It’s interesting because that’s also what we hear in the first reading today, from the prophet Amos. He describes a terrible situation where people are so selfish, so greedy for silver, that it leads them to exploit the poor — all for the love of money.
So my dear brothers and sisters, the point today — what Jesus is telling us — is that God wants all of our love. We cannot serve God and serve “mammon,” or the false gods of material prosperity and material comfort.
Jesus is asking us to center our life in God. It’s a beautiful call. And it’s a beautiful reflection for today’s celebration — this is what it’s all about. It’s not about material things. It’s not about human satisfaction.
It’s interesting that Jesus is not condemning financial needs. We need to earn a living, we need to provide for our families. God knows that. But he wants to make sure we are living with the right priorities, living the right way.
What Jesus is telling us today, is that we should be striving — not for the passing things of this life — but to be “welcomed into eternal dwellings,” into the mansions of heaven. To center our life again in loving God and going to heaven. That’s the grace that especially ask for today as we come in the presence of God and reflect on these interesting readings.
So, the question for all of us today, once again, is that we are using all our talents and everything that we have been given to love God and to serve our brothers and sisters. And I’m sure that’s what we all are trying to do. But let us, once again, reflect on what else we can do. And it’s very interesting that at the end of the reading today, Jesus talks about how we need to be trustworthy in very small matters — to be faithful in little things.
Because that’s what holiness is, really. In little things. In making sure that we spend time in the presence of God. That we find the way to relate everything that we do to the love of God. And also that we make that happen in our daily life and serving our brothers and sisters in little things.
That’s what holiness is — it’s loving God in our daily life in little things. And that’s where we can make a lot of progress if we really think about it, as we are trying to do today.
So, it is a beautiful choice that we have every day, in every moment of our lives. So let’s ask for the grace that we always make the decision to love God and one another in the little things of our daily lives.
So today, as we celebrate our new episcopal vicar in the San Fernando Region, let us especially pray for Bishop Aclan.
And let us ask our Blessed Mother Mary to help us to strive for holiness and heaven by living like Jesus on earth and making sure that we are in the presence of God and doing faithful the little things of everyday life.
1. Readings (25th Sunday in Ordinary Time): Amos 8:4-7; Ps. 113:1-2, 4-8; 1 Tim. 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13.
2. Mark 3:14.