Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Braveheart and stewardship: 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

           Not only does this weekend feature the first day of fall and the entrance into a beautiful season of our year, but it contains an important day in my life—opening duck season.  I have duck hunted with my Dad and brother for many years now, and had the blessing to get out again yesterday.
            Last year my classmate and friend Fr. Drew joined us.  The Friday before the opener we decided it would be a good idea to watch Braveheart—starting at midnight.  We finished around 3am and got up two hours later to get on the pond.  And we dominated.  Being slightly superstitious, what did we do on Friday this year?  Yep, we watched Braveheart.  And again we did very well on the hunt.  You can bet Braveheart will be seen again next year.
            For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Braveheart is set in Scotland during a time when the Scots were oppressed by the English.  The central character, William Wallace, fights for Scotlands freedom from the tyranny and rule of King Edward Longshanks.
            There are some powerful lines in the movie that address oppression and freedom.  First, William addresses the nobles of Scotland—greedy men who were only concerned about their personal titles and property.  He said, “You think the people are here to serve you and your lands and titles.  I say, you have been given land and titles to serve the people and lead them into freedom.”  Second, after being bribed by the Princess of Wales to give up his quest for money, Wallace refuses.  She replies, “Peace is made in such ways.”  Wallace retorts, “Slaves are made in such ways!”
            The Gospel for today is one which I don’t fully understand.  It’s one of those passages where we think, “Better preach on a different reading!”  Is Jesus endorsing dishonesty?  What does he mean when he says, “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings”?  If you figure this out, let me know.
            What is clear in the Gospel is the importance of stewardship.  In the United States we, like the nobles in Scotland, may be tempted to think we are entitled to what we have—food, vehicles, house, safety, jobs, possessions and money.  Yet we must always remember—we must fight to remember—we have been given many blessings and are to be held responsible for these gifts.
            We cannot serve God and mammon at the same time.  I pray that each of you serves God first, and like William Wallace, sees the big picture in that everything we have is actually God’s and not ours. 
            Be good stewards and use what has been given to you for God’s glory. 

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