29th/30th September 2018

posted 12 Oct 2018, 05:12 by Parish Office

Homily for the Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

(29 & 30/9/18)


On Friday, on the way back from my retreat, I heard on the news that two banks had had problems with people accessing their accounts on-line.  The computer problems also meant that some people’s pay may not reach their account on time.  In this country, we take it for granted that if we go to work, we will be paid for the work that we do, and paid soon.  In days gone by in communist countries, and still sometimes today, it has not been unknown for people’s wages to be delayed by a few months.  But this problem isn’t new – it’s even referred to in the Old Testament.


In some countries and in some companies, there may be genuine problems with cash flow which mean that wages can’t be paid on time.  But if it is avoidable but still done deliberately, it’s a very serious matter, one of the few sins in the scriptures that “cry to God for vengeance”.


St Paul famously said, in 1 Tim 6:10, that the love of money is the root of all evil.  It’s a very miserable way of life, putting your trust in riches rather than in God.  Today in the second reading, St James is very scathing of those who hoard up riches at the expense of the poor.  Material riches do not last, neither does money.  It’s sometimes said that recessions happen roughly every ten to fifteen years, and of course we know that material goods can be stolen, or get damaged, or perish.  It is legitimate to save up a bit for a rainy day, but if we get into the habit of a never-ending desire to hoard up more and more money, then we run into a problem of injustice.  The goods that God has given us are to be shared, and we have a moral responsibility to do so.  St Basil the Great said, “It is the hungry man’s bread that you withhold, the naked man’s cloak that you have stored away, the shoe of the barefoot that you have left to rot, the money of the needy that you have buried underground: and so you injure as many as you might help.”  If you think that is strongly-worded, he also said this:  “Feed the man dying of hunger, because if you have not fed him, you have killed him.”  St Teresa of Calcutta used to encourage people to “give until it hurts”, and in the Gospel today we are encouraged to put our lives right,  even if it hurts as much as removing parts of the body.  This includes giving to those in need.


Elsewhere in the Gospels, Our Lord also makes a similar point, but in a more positive way:  “store up treasure for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Matt 6:20-21)