Romans 15:14-21 “…’Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on another’s foundation, but as it is written: Those who have never been told of him shall see and those who have never heard of him shall understand.”
Psalm 98: 1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4 “…All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; break into song: sing praise.”
Luke 16: 1-8 “…’And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”
Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584) born of a noble Milanese family and related to the Medici Family, St. Charles lived during the Protestant Reformation. Before he became a priest at 25, he had lived a full life in the Church as a layman he was made a cardinal-deacon and administrator for the Diocese of Milan. Because of his intellect he was entrusted with several appointments connected with the Vatican, which included secretary of state with full charge of the administration of the papal states. After being ordained a priest he was made bishop of Milan shortly thereafter. He is attributed with getting the council of Trent to reconvene after being stalled out for 10 years. He was instrumental in Church reform, and he led by example, becoming poor to serve the poor. Pope John XXIII referred to him as “the teacher of bishops”. (This last from Lives of the Saints, Pg 402; mostly from The Saints of the Day website)
In the first reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans, we catch a glimpse of Paul’s steadfast commitment to spread the good news of Jesus Christ crucified. I found myself more aware of the work of this good man, and was reminded of how it all began. Paul was knocked off his horse, and because of him, the Good News was spread to all the Gentile populations. St. Paul’s zeal for spreading the message was unbelievable. It made me think that getting knocked off a horse is probably a good thing.
In the Gospel, Jesus invites us to experience this kind of zeal, when at the end this reading, he says that the children of the Light do not conduct themselves so cleverly with all eyes on the survival of their souls. The steward who is about to be relieved of duty, is going about establishing a better relationship with everyone for whom he will have to deal after he leaves his current post. The Collegeville Bible Commentary points out that the amount of debt he was forgiving of these various debtors was probably an amount he was going to keep for himself. Knowing that he could not get a job doing what he’d been doing, he thought it prudent to establish good relations with these folks, people who might help him find his way in the future. And Jesus says about his actions, “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.” Do we need to get knocked off our horses? Then let’s pray for that to happen, or pray that our Spiritual senses will be awakened.
Let us also pray, asking St. Paul to continue to intercede on behalf of those who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ. And of the good St. Charles Borromeo, let us ask him to intercede in Heaven on behalf of the whole Catholic Church today and in particular its leaders, Deacons, and other Religious, Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. The Church, lay people and clergy alike, while ever renewing is in need of reform in the form of purification today. Just as St. Charles Borromeo called for reform among every phase of Catholic life in his day, among laity and clergy alike, we, too, need to pray for help to do the same in our time.
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