25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 22, 2019
Sr Phillis Jaszkowiak
Friday I joined the protest, in downtown Portland, for our climate. We protested the fact that not much has been done to stop climate change. It was led by our young people who will have to live with the consequences. So we protest to make change happen, which takes knowledge, time, patience, courage and stick-to-it-tiveness. . As Sr. Joan Chittister says, “Protest is the cry of the heart for the coming of the will of God.”
In today’s first reading God points out, through Amos, what is happening: “Hear this you that trample on the needy and bring to ruin the poor of the land.” God answers, “Never will I forget a thing they have done!”
Amos seems to be speaking directly to us in our world today. In another part of the book he says: “Hate evil, love good and establish justice.” (Amos 5:15) He seems to be asking us to stop, look and listen so we can really see what is going on in our world, and take appropriate actions. Do we make decisions that respect all life and the earth itself? As we make decisions, do we deliberate what will be best for our climate, our earth, and therefore for us? Do we always ask what would be best for the poor and for the earth?
We need to be able to see dishonesty, speak the truth, and resist the evil of our day. We cannot sit idly by and do nothing, for evil wins when good people do nothing.
The gospel ends with, “No servant can serve two masters. [The servant] will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
Jesus asks us to come to know ourselves enough, know God enough, know others enough, to decide where we stand, and why we take the positions we take. It takes prayer, being in relationship with others, and self-reflection to come to decisions that are truthful, honest, looking out for the poor and for the common good. It is what we are asked to do.
Honesty and integrity are two values we need now in our world. Lack of honesty and integrity create divisions. We see divisiveness in the political arena, relations among people, in families, and in business. If we acknowledge the divisions and listen to each
other, then maybe, we can have some civil conversations about the divisions, rather than just yelling at each other for being wrong-headed and stupid. Who knows, listening to others may give us some further insights.
We do need to choose whom we will serve, the loving God of all, or someone or something else. We may not be able to bridge the divisions, but we can stand in God’s truth, resist the evil, speak the truth to power, help the poor, work for the common good, and protest the wrongs. We do all this with love, loving all people, and the earth, with no exceptions, even our enemies. Let’s try it this week, and see where it leads us.