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Sunday, September 22, 2013

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25th Sunday Ordinary Time

Amos 8:4-7
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Psalm 113:1-2, 4-8
Luke 16:1-13

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"first of all"

"First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered." —1 Timothy 2:1

The injustices in our world are becoming increasingly severe. The needy are being trampled on and the poor are destroyed (Am 8:4). Millions of aborted babies, millions of starving people, and millions of refugees are only some of the injustices.

The Christian response to these injustices should be faith. Only by faith can we remove these mountains (see Mt 17:20). We must express our faith by our works (see Jas 2:26). Like the manager in today's Gospel reading, Christians should be "enterprising" and take "initiative" (Lk 16:8) in politics, economics, communications, education, etc. Nevertheless, our first response to injustice should be prayer. Paul taught: "First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men, especially for kings and those in authority" (1 Tm 2:1-2). "Prayer of this kind is good, and God our Savior is pleased with it, for He wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth" (1 Tm 2:3-4). When we pray first and act second, our actions will not be ineffective and misguided but powerful and redemptive.

The Lord promised that the demons behind the injustices in our society will be driven out by faith expressed in prayer and fasting (Mt 17:21 NAB). Our actions have not been effective because our prayer and fasting have not been sufficient. So pray and fast according to God's will, then act.

Prayer:  Father, teach me to pray (see Lk 11:1) as much as You want and how You want.

Promise:  "Make friends for yourselves through your use of this world's goods, so that when they fail you, a lasting reception will be yours." —Lk 16:9

Praise:  Praise You, risen Jesus! You have delivered us from the power of evil. All honor and praise be to You!

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape, Lord, Teach Us to Pray, on audio AV 57-3 or video V-57.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 4, 2013

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