How to live in imitation of Christ

Sunday, September 18, 2022 | By Rev. Michael P. Hanifin

Readings: AM 8:4-7; PS 113:1-2, 4-8;1 TM 2:1-8; LK 16:1-13 or LK 6:10-13

Have you ever been warned about the dangers of mixed-up priorities? The Scripture readings on this 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time are so very clear on the necessity of putting God first in every area of our lives.

We see this in the First Reading from the Prophet Amos. The Lord had harsh words for those who took advantage of the poor and whose priorities were not aligned with God’s.

In the Second Reading from Saint Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy, the apostle gives us the antidote to the self-centeredness condemned in our first reading. The antidote is to imitate Christ “who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” Rather than thinking of Himself and how to “get ahead” Jesus Christ gave Himself completely away for our sake. That is how we are to live in imitation of Christ!

In the Gospel passage from Luke, the Lord Jesus shows us how to bridge the gap between worldly thinking and priorities and eternal thinking and priorities. Jesus told the parable of the corrupt but clever steward who is about to get fired when the master discovered the steward had been squandering his property. Realizing his imminent unemployed status, the clever steward reached out to the various debtors of his master to “wheel and deal” with them, making friends who would look out for him when he became jobless.

What if we put that kind of effort into our own tasks as good stewards of all abundant gifts God has bestowed unto us? Into our lives of service, into the ways we could make more time for prayer as individuals, as couples, as families, and as Saint Joachim Parish? What if we got as creative as the “bad steward” of the Gospel in the use of our finances so that we could give more generously to the poor and the advancement of God’s kingdom on the earth and even at the corner of Orange Avenue and Walnut Street?