St. Rita Roman Catholic Church
1008 Maple Dr.
Webster, NY 14580
Weekend Masses: Saturday- 5:00pm
Sunday- 7:30am; 9:00am (children's liturgy); 10:30am
Daily Mass is at 8:15am on Monday, Tuesday,
Thursday, and Friday (no Mass on Wednesday)
Reconciliation: Saturday from 3:30-4:30pm
Office Hours: M-Th 9am to 4:30pm; Fri 9-12:00pm
An Introduction to the Scripture Readings for
the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass
“You Cannot Serve Both God And Mammon”

Today’s readings focus our attention on Justice—”the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor”(CCC #1807). A Just Person is one who does not lie, cheat or steal; one who lives in right relationship with God, neighbor and environment. Today, we are asked to choose, with whom are we in right relationship — God and neighbor or ourselves. We cannot choose both.

In our first reading
(Amos 8:4-7), the Prophet Amos calls out Israel for its trampling on the rights of the poor by cheating and stealing to enrich themselves. Their dishonest methods destroyed the poor while portraying themselves as righteous and holy. “Never will I forget a thing they have done!”, says the Lord.

Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! "When will the new moon be over," you ask, "that we may sell our grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!" The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!

In our Epistle reading (1 Timothy 2:1-8), we are reminded that God seeks salvation for all mankind and it is the Christian obligation to pray for everyone, including those in positions of power and leadership. That could never be more true than it is today.

Beloved: First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. For there is one God. There is also one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as ransom for all. This was the testimony at the proper time. For this I was appointed preacher and apostle — I am speaking the truth, I am not lying —, teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

In our Gospel reading (Luke 16:1-3), Jesus praised the example of a dishonest steward who was prudent in protecting his own self-interest. Jesus seemed to be urging his followers to work as hard for the Kingdom of God as those with "dishonest wealth" worked for their own worldly goods. As disciples, we must choose—do we serve the wealth of this world or the “true wealth” of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus said to his disciples, "A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, 'What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.' The steward said to himself, 'What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.' He called in his master's debtors one by one. To the first he said, 'How much do you owe my master?' He replied, 'One hundred measures of olive oil.' He said to him, 'Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.' Then to another the steward said, 'And you, how much do you owe?' He replied, 'One hundred kors of wheat.' The steward said to him, 'Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.'

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 are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon."

There is an old Bette Midler song called “From a Distance”. Its is about a world that from a distance seems to be in right relationship with itself and God—a world where all the right words are spoken of peace and hope but underneath, there is a world of bitterness, poverty and war. The bridge is, “God is watching us, from a distance.” The solution might just be to heed St. Paul’s admonition in today’s Epistle: that “prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority.”