Christ Defends the Poor and the Oppressed
Readings: 1st: Am 8:4-7; Ps: 112:1-2. 4-8; 2nd: I Tim 2:1-8; Gos: Lk 16:1-13
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at:
On this twenty-fifth Sunday of ordinary time, the Church urges us to reflect on our attitude towards money, material things, and especially, our attitude towards the poor and the marginalized. Injustice, greed, and oppression are among the greatest factors that have perpetuated poverty in our society.
In today’s first reading, the prophet Amos condemns injustice and oppression against the poor. He wrote about when the rich took all the land and “enslaved” the poor in their farmlands. They exported food to make more money for themselves, while the poor starved and died of hunger.
Today, we face similar situations all over the world. While some cannot afford one meal per day, others waste money on useless projects. Sometimes, the excuse we give is that the poor are lazy or that there would always be poor people in the world. These are weak excuses. The truth is that there is much greed, injustice, and corruption in our world.
Today, Paul implores us to pray for everyone especially, kings, rulers, and government leaders. This prayer is necessary for conversion and wisdom. If our leaders are converted and become wise, they will help to stop corruption, injustice, and oppression in our land and systems.
This is very important because, as Paul puts it: “God wants everyone to be saved and reach the full knowledge of the truth.” This truth is that there is only one God and that we all are His children. He loves us all equally and wishes that we all prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers.
Once we understand this, selfishness will disappear, and we shall begin to consider the interest and good of others. It is God’s will to save all. This includes salvation from starvation, injustice, greed, and corruption that has destroyed our world and left many poor.
In the gospel, Jesus reminds us of the fact that money and material things do not last forever. Hence, he advises us on how to make use of them without losing our salvation. There is a saying that “The best way to invest is to invest in the poor.” We should therefore learn to invest in the poor to improve their conditions. Amassing wealth for ourselves without using them to help those in need only amounts to greed and selfishness.
Money and wealth have value only when used wisely to help those around us. Only fools hold tenaciously to money and wealth above God and to the detriment of the poor. Also, only the ungodly use their wealth to oppress the poor and the weak. This is because they are like “the fool who says there is no God” (Ps 14:1).
On the contrary, the wise use his wealth to help those in need and store wealth for himself in heaven. Therefore, it is important to know that we are only it’s managers when God blesses us with wealth. God gives us wealth to help and improve the lives of those in need. It is not meant only for our families and us. So, we must be charitable with it.
Finally, we must not manipulate the poor and the needy for economic gains. This is because any form of injustice or oppression against the poor and weak cry’s out to God for vengeance as the blood of Abel did (Gen 4:10). Christ is the defender of the poor and the marginalized. As the psalmist says: “He raises the poor and lifts the lowly from the dust.”
Peace be with you all!