Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection
September 17, 2021
24th Friday in Ordinary time, September 17, 2021
1 Tm 6:2c-12; Ps 49: 6-10, 17-20; Lk 8:1-3
St. Paul does not mince words today. Either you are with Jesus, or you are against, and Paul uses some strong words to say how you are against. Paul’s three letters to Timothy are written for those who are out evangelizing the Gentiles, not necessarily for the Gentiles themselves. But it is a good reminder to us as well on how we should live our lives and how to conduct our affairs. We have been hearing from Paul’s first letter for the last week or so, and now, in Chapter 6, we get a final exhortation on how to live our lives. The book concludes in tomorrow’s readings, but today we get the gist of his final chapter.
Envy, rivalry, insults, evil suspicion, and mutual friction…wow, strong words for that time. Paul challenges us to look at where we have our hearts. What are we coveting? Are we desiring goods to make ourselves happy? And do those riches really make us happy, or do we end up desiring more, even to the point of not treating others fairly? It seems to me what happened two thousand years ago is still happening today and has throughout the centuries. We all know the great lines from this reading, “Money is the root of all evil,” and “we shall not be able to take anything” (out of this world), meaning, you cannot take it with you when you die. And the old line we have heard over and over again, “Have you ever seen a U-Haul following a hearse?” Strong reminders to be careful of what we pursue.
But we have hope and St. Paul makes sure we know that. Pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness he says. Compete well for the Faith. To compete well for the Faith reminds us that we need to be living the life of the Beatitudes, not the life of coveting behavior. These are the things we need to focus in on, the attitudes of the Beatitudes. The way we live our lives is what truly matters, not all our material possessions. As the psalm response says, Blessed the poor in spirit, the Kingdom of heaven is theirs.