Deacon Stu Dobson’s Reflection 11-4-22

31st Friday in Ordinary Time, November 4, 2022
Phil 3:17-4:1, Ps 122:1-5, Lk 16:1-8

St. Paul proposes an interesting proposition today: “Join with others to be imitators of me.” On the surface, this seems pretty arrogant, but in the context of the Philippians, who are being swayed by every huckster in the area, Paul is sincere in what he is asking them to do. Be imitators of Christ, just like Paul strives to do. Out of love for them, Paul exhorts them to keep their eyes focused on Christ, by imitating Him. As you think about your own life, who have you been imitating lately? We all do it, we see someone whom we think is a great person, and we try to emulate, or imitate what they do and how they act. We think it will make us a better person, but in the end, we just end up making fools out of ourselves. Instead of imitating someone else, why don’t we just be ourselves, or better yet, imitate Paul, who is imitating Christ. 

The rich man’s steward in Jesus’s story was concerned about how others would treat him if he got fired from his lofty position. He decided to change his ways and imitate being merciful to his debtors. Then, he thought, they will still like me when I am poor. I guess his scheme worked because his master showed him mercy afterward. But if that steward would have treated everyone fairly to begin with, he wouldn’t have been in that predicament. He would have been shown respect despite the job he had. 

As Christians, we are called to treat all human beings with dignity and respect, regardless of what they are doing or how they look. Yes, there are evil people in the world, but they will have to answer for their own actions someday. That does not mean we treat them with disrespect and hatred. Jesus says, love your enemies, that does not mean we like what they do, but we are still called to love them. As a Christian, our job is to treat them with love, and bring out the goodness in them that God gave them. I know, a tall order sometimes, but it is still important to treat them with dignity and respect just like Jesus did. Paul’s imitation of Christ is that very example. No matter who Paul meets or interacts with, he imitates Christ and shows them the love and respect they deserve. In this world today, with all the division and strife, it is time we, too, imitate Christ. Tough words I know, but Paul did not hold back either to the Philippians. He told them the truth and it is time we took that message to heart as well. 

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL