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XXV Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lean on God rather than on earthly goods

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Dear Brothers and Sisters, Fiat!

This Sunday, Jesus invites us to reflect on two opposing ways of life: the way of the world and that of the Gospel — the worldly spirit is not the spirit of Jesus — and He does so by recounting the parable of the unfaithful and corrupt steward, who is praised by Jesus, despite his dishonesty (cf. Lk 16:1-13). We must point out immediately that this administrator is not presented as a model to follow, but as an example of deceitfulness. This man is accused of mismanaging his master’s affairs, and before being removed, astutely he tries to ingratiate himself with the debtors, condoning part of their debt so as to ensure himself a future. Commenting on this behaviour, Jesus observes: “For the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light” (v. 8).

We are called to respond to this worldly astuteness with Christian astuteness, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit. This is a matter of departing from the worldly spirit and values, which the devil really favours, in order to live according to the Gospel. How is worldliness manifested? Worldliness is manifested by attitudes of corruption, deception, subjugation, and it constitutes the most ill-chosen road, the road of sin, because one leads you to the other! It’s like a chain, even if it is generally the easiest road to travel. Instead, the spirit of the Gospel requires a serious and challenging lifestyle, marked by honesty, fairness, respect for others and their dignity, and a sense of duty. And this is Christian astuteness!

The journey of life necessarily involves a choice between two roads: between honesty and dishonesty, between fidelity and infidelity, between selfishness and altruism, between good and evil. You can not waver between one and the other, because they move on different and conflicting forms of logic. The prophet Elijah said to the people of Israel that went on these two roads: “You are limping with both feet!” (cf. 1 Kings 18:21). It’s a fine image. It is important to decide which direction to take and then, once you have chosen the right one, to walk it with enthusiasm and determination, trusting in God’s grace and the support of His Spirit. The conclusion of the Gospel passage is powerful and categorical: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other” (Lk 16:13).

With this teaching, Jesus today urges us to make a clear choice between Him and the worldly spirit, between the logic of corruption, of the abuse of power and greed, and that of righteousness, meekness and sharing. Some people conduct themselves with corruption as they do with drugs: they think they can use it and stop when they want. It starts out small, but one’s freedom is slowly lost. Corruption is also habit-forming, and generates poverty, exploitation, and suffering. How many victims there are in the world today! How many victims of this widespread corruption. But when we try to follow the Gospel logic of integrity, clarity in intentions and in behaviour, of fraternity, we become artisans of justice and we open horizons of hope for humanity. In gratuitousness and by giving of ourselves to our brothers and sisters, we serve the right master: God.

On 22 July 1899 Luisa described a vision She found herself at the top of a staircase, extremely high, which had a precipice under it, and, what’s more, the steps of this staircase were movable and so narrow that one could barely put the tips of his toes on it. What terrified the most was the precipice, and the fact that one could find no support whatsoever, and if one tried to cling to the steps, they would come off. The sight of other people, almost all of them falling, put a shiver in the bones. Yet, there was no other way than going through that staircase. Luisa tried; but after going up only two or three steps, seeing the great danger for her of falling into the abyss, she began to call Jesus to come to her aid. Not knowing how, Luisa found Jesus near her, and He told her that what she saw was the path which all men go through on this earth. The movable steps, on which they could not even lean to find support, were the human supports, earthly things, which are such that, if one tries to lean on them, instead of giving him help, they give him a push to fall more quickly into hell. The safest means is to climb almost flying, without touching the ground, by force of one’s arms, with eyes all fixed on oneself - without looking at others, and also by keeping them all intent on Me, in order to receive help and strength. In this way one can easily avoid the precipice.

don Marco
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