Sept. 18, Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle C. Readings:
1) Amos 8:4-7
Psalm 113:1-2, 4-8
2) 1 Timothy 2:1-8
Gospel: Luke 16:1-13
By Sharon K. Perkins
Catholic News Service
In this presidential election year, much is made of political candidates and their levels of experience, their platforms and their ability to communicate with their constituents. But nothing seems to raise as much debate as a candidate’s trustworthiness — or the lack of it. In fact, millions of dollars are spent on campaign advertising for the purpose of exposing dishonesty in one’s opponent.
Why is this? I suspect that a candidate’s many favorable qualities are often secondary to the public’s perception of the candidate’s honesty. Whether it’s engaging in deceitful business practices, cheating on one’s taxes or fabricating information, even little falsehoods can add up to an unsavory reputation and seriously damage a contender’s chances of getting elected.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus’ parable of the dishonest steward illustrates the significance of little things as an indicator of trustworthiness in larger matters.
Given the propensity of human beings — especially those in leadership — to bend the truth to suit their purposes, it’s no wonder that the Letter to Timothy emphasizes the necessity of prayer for “kings and for all in authority,” knowing that the common good of all people depends upon their integrity.
The prophet Amos warns those who ‘trample upon the needy” and persist in dishonest dealings with the poor in order to advance themselves: The Lord has a long memory and does not abide injustice. Rather, God’s brand of justice “raises up the lowly from the dust” in order to “seat them with princes.”
In this season of accusatory campaign ads and reciprocal mudslinging, it behooves Christians, as “children of light,” to discern carefully and to exercise their right to vote with prudence and responsibility. But today’s readings also challenge us to look at our own attitudes about wealth and our behavior toward the poor.
You or I might not be running for office — but the common good of our fellow human beings depends on our integrity, wise stewardship and fervent prayers for those who are elected to serve.
In what areas of your life do you tend toward deceit or dishonesty? What part do prayer and discernment play in your own political decisions?