REFLECTING ON SUNDAY READINGS (SEPT. 22)

1. Sunday Readings

Today, September 22 (Sunday), I was particularly struck by the Readings. This is what I saw:

In the first reading (Am. 8: 4-7), Amos speaks of God's anger against those people who work for riches and exploit and oppress the poor. The prophet warned us that God would never forget what these people have done.

In the second reading (1 Tm 2: 1-8), Paul, himself a former persecutor and terrible enemy of the church, speaks of how Christ made him an apostle and evangelist, reminding me once again that Jesus, many times, held up the examples of men who were condemned as unworthy by the Jews or believers, or by the official church, especially by the deeply corrupt Pharisees who exhibited false purity and public devotion. Jesus surprisingly held up men whom the Pharisees condemned, or who were outside the Jewish church - like the publican, the good Samaritan, Roman officials who asked him to cure a daughter or a servant, and others, as examples of persons who had true devotion to God, reminding me once again how different God's heart and judgment are from ours, and prompting me to ask, who are the Pharisees of today?

And in the Gospel itself (Lk. 16: 1-13), Jesus firmly teaches us, "Whoever is dishonest in small things is dishonest in important things... you cannot serve both God and money." How often do I fall into the trap of thinking how well-dressed people with good speech and respectable appearances who lead society are automatically the good ones, not thinking of what lies hidden below the surface?