Phil 4:10-19; Ps 112:1-9; Lk 16:9-15
The LORD will exalt those who blow the trumpet at the new moon, on our feast. Those who play before the LORD are lifted up in jubilation. Only those who fear the LORD shall be exalted in glory. Only those who greatly delight in his commands shall be exalted in glory. The glory of the LORD shines out from within the hearts of all who fear the LORD, those who are not afraid of God. To fear the LORD is the beginning of wisdom and the crown of wisdom. To fear the LORD is to conduct your affairs with justice. Those who live in harmony with the will of the LORD are truly blessed. They always have plenty even for their descendants. Their hearts are steadfast; no fear dwells in their hearts. They lavish blessings upon the poor; their generosity endures forever. The poor who were blessed on earth with their prosperity are the poor who gather around to welcome them into the heavenly Jerusalem. It is then that Lazareth and all the poor meet them at the gates of Heaven. Then their horn is exalted in glory. Saint Paul makes it clear that our glorious riches are in Christ Jesus the LORD. In him alone is our sacrifice of generosity a fragrant aroma before the throne of the Father. To his beloved opponents the Pharisees, the Lord Jesus cries out this warning: “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”
Saint Paul had strength for everything through him who empowers him. In Christ Jesus he was strong, strong enough to be weak and weak enough to be strong in his reliance upon Christ Our LORD and God. Saint Paul learned to survive with abundance and to survive with the minimal. One of the most difficult virtues to develop is to be allow others to be generous with you in your need. It’s quite easy and quite prideful to give to others, but when you need from another, that’s another story. Often times the powerless sick feel like a burden to everyone and don’t know how to let others show them love. Such love is often engendered by the loving service received from the one who is now needy and incapacitated. Saint Paul uses his personal need for financial assistance to stand for his pastoral concern for the poverty of other members of the church. If his beloved children can be kind in his needs, then they can offer help to the larger community who are so desperate. Since the Church in Philippi has helped Saint Paul in his apostolic activities more than once, then he can expect them to be generous with their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem. This truly detached Apostle rejoices most in the spiritual benefit that is accrued to their account in Heaven. Indeed, many gifts make a sacrifice more aromatic than the incense burned in the Temple sacrifices. Indeed, the LORD God Almighty fully supplies the generous of heart by filling them up with the glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
For Saint Luke the only reason to have worldly wealth is to use it for the needs of the less fortunate. As the Lord Jesus counsels his followers in today’s gospel: “make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Indeed, if we can be trusted with the things of this world, then we can be trusted with the treasures that moths do not eat, nor rust destroy. The true wealth of the heavenly Kingdom is ours here and now so that we can be tested. The Lord sends us spiritual and material blessings to see if we are trustworthy and prudent. We must serve only one master, the LORD Jesus Christ. No one else can claim our absolute loyalty and total dedication. Those who love money will no doubt sneer at us because we do not love what they love. Such ridicule was part of the rejection the Master received. Can we expect anything less? We need not justify ourselves in the sight of the LORD nor in the sight of men. Indeed, the LORD knows our hearts. He knows both the heights and depths of what we are capable. Still he loves us with great generosity so that we might love others as He loves us. Indeed, we are Eucharistic People; we are ready to break ourselves open and pour ourselves out for the glory and praise of His Name, him who knows our hearts and loves us anyway.