Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Who You Know" (2013-09-22)

This is my homily for Sunday September 22, 2013.  I am a Catholic chaplain at  Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU, Teaneck),   FDU Newman Catholic Association,  New Jersey City University (NJCU) in Jersey City.  At FDU, Sunday Evening Mass is celebrated 5:00 pm during Fall 2013 and Spring 2014. at FDU Chapel, 842 River Road, Teaneck. 

September 22, 2013  /  25th Sunday

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

[__01__]  In this parable from the Gospel of Luke,  chapter 16, we see the:

  • Middleman
  • Middle manager
This is the steward. The steward has customers to whom he is negotiating prices, selling goods, selling a product.

[__02__]   The steward is also the manager of a social network.

He has his own form of social media, his own connections.  And, maybe some people even like him on Facebook.

The steward / middle manager – in  the parable -- is trying to take advantage of all the connections possible.

First, this advantage is taken – seized – to give the steward the maximum possible profit.

He is greedy… that is Part 1 of his life.

Then, we read about his change of heart and change of  business practice.

This leads to Part 2.

As he has a change of heart about the profit and business, he also takes advantage of his connections, of  his relationships.

The steward reduces his own profit, builds relationships.

[__03__]   What are we often told about success … success in the world, with or without the Internet, Facebook… and  online purchasing?

What is the wisdom on social media, marketing and prosperity?

The  message is’s not what you know it’s  who you know.

Everything is going to depend on our connections.

Of course, sometimes, we take this to the extreme to avoid doing any work because we see other people getting ahead just based on points of  popularity rather than points in their GPA … or actual knowledge.

We might also avoid doing our best for our teacher, our coach,  our team… because we see others playing favorites.
Yes, unfortunately, this happens.

On the other hand, this is not an excuse for  not doing our homework, not going to practice…or – in our faith journey – not  following the commandments.

God himself also does not play favorites.

The steward is reducing his profit, giving back and living based on relationships.. it is who  you know.

He is building relationships that will endure for the long term.

And, we are called to do the same.

[__04__]   IN OUR WORK.

This true whether we are working professionally, working academically, doing our homework.

Our homework – or tasks – are not optional. This is the minimum we can do.

But, if the fall harvest of happiness is about “who you know”, then there is a relationship to cultivate in the spring..and every day as well.

We also benefit by getting to know the teacher  in the classroom. We benefit by getting to know those who are in  authority … to know his or her values.

To serve the greater good, it is who you know.

This is just one example.

And, by the way, the reading from Timothy today also reminds us of the importance of praying for those in leadership, in authority.

Pray for your boss, your dean…your university president.

[__05__]   The same is true in our family life.

Yes, there are plenty of tasks to do, money to earn, insurance and tuition to pay, and tasks to complete.

We are also called to know – to get to know each of our family members, their personality, their temperament… to love them not only as we would be loved…but also to love them according to what they need.

Paul writes in the letter to Thessalonians..
??? about telling them what  they need??

Each person requires different loving actions, different acts of forgiveness from each of us.

It is  who you know.

[__06__]   This is also true in our faith and  belief and action.

We are called not only to remember the  commandment, Thou Shalt Not Steal.

That would 1 of the commandments which is forgotten by the steward, at least temporarily.

He is, in fact,  stealing from both his master and his customers with unfair pricing and excessive profit taking.

We are also called  to know our Lord.

In the letter to the Philippians, St. Paul writes about what he has learned, the knowledge and techniques he has gained.

That is,  “what he knows is important.”

I know both how to be brought low, and I know how to abound: (everywhere, and in all things I am instructed) both to be full, and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need.” (Philippians 4:12, Douay-Rheims)

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. (Philippians 4:12, Revised NAB)

 But who he knows is even more important.

I can do all these things in him who strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13, Douay-Rheims)

I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.” (Philippains 4:13, Revised NAB)

It’s who you know. [__fin__]  

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