Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary - Homilies


XXV Sunday of Ordinary Time
Fr. Jonathan L. Reardon
September 18th, 2016
Year C

The English poet, William Blake wrote a short poem called “Eternity.”
“He who binds to himself a joy,
Does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies,
Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.”
What Blake is saying is that if we cling to the good things God has given us and try to possess them, we lose them. But if we treat them as gifts of God, as blessings that are good but subordinate to Him, we keep them for eternity. In other words, how we utilize material resources and our attitude towards them, matters.

This is the point of the parable of the dishonest steward. Jesus presumes that we understand the immoral nature of the man’s actions. That which He praises is the shrewdness of his behavior. Caught in his dishonesty, he tries to derive maximum material advantage from his former position. Emphasis, I think, ought to be placed on the fact that this steward serves worldly matters and he makes every effort to benefit from the world and that he is not at all concerned with things eternal. The point of the parable then is that Jesus wishes that we would employ the same ingenuity, fervor, and effort to those “things eternal.” St. Josemaria Escrivá puts it rather poignantly: “When you and I put the same zeal into the affairs of our souls, we will have a living and working faith. And there will be no obstacle that we cannot overcome in our apostolic works” (The Way, 317).

This is where the notion of service comes into play. The idea of service involves a commitment we make to work for someone – in the case of faith we work in service of Christ and the Church. Our service to God requires that we direct ourselves toward our heavenly goal. This type of service involves the whole of our lives: our attitude toward temporal affairs, how we use material resources, our actions toward friend and foe, and so on – by doing things with an upright motivation, acting in a way that is just and loving. It also touches upon our service in the parish community. The way in which we give of our time and talent to the parish is a service to God and neighbor.

Interestingly, an article released Thursday by U.S. News and World Report notes that our economy benefits highly from active, religiously affiliated persons and individuals. The article, however, also went to note that religious practices are down and the number of people who are active in their faith, those who say they believe in God, pray daily, and attend church regularly has declined significantly in recent years. In the same article was published a 2014 study of volunteerism among folks religiously affiliated. The study, conducted between June 4 – Sept 30, 2014, shows, that in that time, only 29% of Catholics said they volunteered in the last week and only 9% say they volunteer through church.

This is why I wanted to have the “volunteer fair” – so that we can all get a glimpse of what the parish has to offer, to plug into one or more groups or ministries and serve God in these ways. By doing so, we bring life – life to those around us, life to the community by participating in parish events/ministries, and of course life for our own souls – all of which is God’s gift of life and love. It His grace at work in us who serve Him.

Zeal, effort, initiative, service – these are the things that bring energy and life to our faith and to our parish. Motivation for these things is meant to come from the love we have for God and the desire we have to find value and meaning relationships.  And when He calls us to give an accounting for our own lives, we pray that He might say to us: “you have loved and served Me well.” May this be the grace we receive through our reception of Holy Communion today.


Fr. Jon Reardon

Rev. Jonathan L. Reardon is a priest for the diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts.
He serves at Sacred Heart Parish in Pittsfield, MA.

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