Saturday, September 10, 2005

Stewardship builds on trust (Sunday homily)

This weekend, we reflect on stewardship.
If you ask what stewardship
has to do with these readings,
I’d say, look at that first servant in the Gospel:
he didn’t know who his Master was;
and he didn’t trust him.
And that’s what made him a bad steward.

He had a huge debt,
and no hope of paying it back;
but that’s not why he got in trouble.

He asked mercy for his debt
and the King granted it.

He got in trouble because
he didn’t believe his Master!
He goes right out to collect his debts.
Either he didn’t really believe
he was off the hook;
or he didn’t get what it meant:
“I’m not poor, I’m rich!”

Jesus Christ gives us,
his followers, a commitment:
He says, “Follow me,
and I’ll give you eternal life: trust me!”

Do we trust him?
That brings us to the second servant.

He learned the lesson of trust,
but he learned it the hard way:
he had no other choice!
How often it is,
when our back is against the wall,
that we cast ourselves into God’s hands.
Trusting God is often our last move!

If you think about it,
God ought to be insulted by that!
But he’s not!

This shows us the true,
Father’s heart of God:
he’s so much bigger than that!
Our true Father in heaven
simply wants us to come home!
And if takes us being check-mated
by events and circumstances,
till we have no other choice—
that’s okay with God; he loves us that much.

Knowing who God really is,
and who we are in God--
living in that trust, that confidence--
that’s the foundation of stewardship.
We don’t hold on
too tightly when we have that.

That first servant wasn’t poor, he was rich:
but he didn’t know it.

His true wealth wasn’t money or things,
nor even the power he had over other people—
it was solely his relationship with his Master.
And he blew it!

What did his Master ask of him?
Very simple: be like Me!

The Master was generous,
and said, be generous;
The Master forgave,
and he said: do likewise.

If he’d drawn close to his Master,
how easy it would have been!

When you and I draw close to God,
anchoring our lives in knowing his heart,
living, day-by-day, in that childlike trust:
we’ll change—we’ll have to;
we won’t want to stay sinful
and petty and small;
and we’ll share freely,
because we know we’ll never run out
of what really counts.

Yes, stuff can run out—just like that!
Our lives will run out, maybe very suddenly:
so why not make them count?

Think of 9/11 four years ago;
think of the hurricane:
Soldiers, firefighters, police,
doctors, priests and nuns:
Risking their lives,
even losing lives, to save lives.
That’s good stewardship!

Go back to St. Peter’s question,
about forgiveness:
When we know our true riches in God,
we can afford to forgive—why not?
Why not forgive?

The most worthless “treasure”
we ever hold on to is a grudge!

This may be the one time
I quote Janis Joplin in a homily—
are you ready?
But she had it right:
“Freedom’s just another word
for nothing left to lose.”

That freedom comes from knowing
our true wealth is not our stuff,
not our power, not even our lives,
but our relationship with God
through Jesus Christ.

It can seem complicated, on one level:
Go to confession, go to Mass,
believe this, avoid that;

But on a deeper level,
it’s all about becoming like Him.
It’s the lesson that first servant,
in the Gospel, missed:
He didn’t know who his Master really was;
He didn’t draw close to his heart.

When you and I draw close
to the heart of Jesus,
We’ll want to be like him;
and we will become like him.
He is the one who will do it!

Trust him!

No comments: