Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 18, 2016
Fr. José Maria Alvim Cortex, F.S.C.B.
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today’s readings talk about the virtue of prudence.
The dishonest steward of the Gospel, who had squandered the goods of his master, was praised by the Lord for acting prudently.
Of course, Jesus does not commend the steward for his dishonesty but for his prudence. After the steward was fired, he prepared for his future.
Jesus says: “The children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (Lk 16:8). He is saying that our practical intelligence is quickly set in motion by that which is material. Unfortunately, we are not so expeditious regarding the spiritual, our eternal destiny and our ultimate happiness, as if our relationship with God were not as urgent as earning money.
Prudence is a very important virtue. It is the first of the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “To be prudent means to discern what is our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it, ‘the prudent man looks where he is going’” (CCC, 1806).
Where are we going? What is our future? Our future is God. In the second reading, Saint Paul says: “There is one God. There is also one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus […]” (1 Tm 2:5). To be prudent is to act, relate to people and use things in a way that does not compromise our future. We should constantly ask ourselves whether our relationships are in accordance with our relationship with God. Do we really respect the people around us? How important is the way that we deal with money and goods? What is greater: God or our possessions? Jesus says that no servant can serve two masters.
In the first reading, we find an example of what it means to be imprudent. The prophet Amos speaks against the powerful who buy the poor for money: “We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals” (Am 8:6). This means to treat the other as an object and not as a person.
In the time of the prophet Amos, the chosen people had forgotten the Covenant. They were living as if God were not a real presence among them. When God disappears from the human horizon, tyranny begins and we act toward our neighbor in a way that does not recognize his dignity. We only really start respecting the other when we recognize his eternal destiny.
The great question of our lives is our salvation, finding meaning for our lives. This week, more than ever, with what happened at the Naval Yard, we feel the need for meaning and salvation, the need for a love greater than hatred and violence.
Saint Paul is clear when he says: “God wills everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tm 2:4). In order to reach this salvation, we need to be wise, to act prudently. Like the dishonest steward of the Gospel, we need to prepare for our future.
Let us ask the Virgin Most Prudent to intercede and obtain for us the gift of wisdom. May she help us to live and act prudently. Amen.
Sunday Reading Meditations