Called To Serve God – Fr. Tom Tank

Fr. Tom Tank’s Homily September 22, 2019

“I’m sure I’m not the only one, but that Gospel is not quite my favorite one because it is one that really challenges us.  It is one that is not there to comfort us, but to make us somewhat uncomfortable. Even the story of the steward there who is dishonest and goes about that duplicity in order to gain favor with the former borrowers, even that is a little disquieting.  I remember a woman one time after this Gospel confronted after Mass and said, ‘I can’t believe that Jesus would say that, that Jesus would be approving of sin, that he would approve of that dishonesty.’ And I said, ‘I don’t think that’s really the point, but it does seem that way because it says that the master commended the steward for being so prudent and that was part of the message that Jesus gives in that parable is that the steward was really concerned about his future.  He was really concerned about what was going to happen to him and so he did what he felt was necessary even though it was dishonest. Now it’s not commending the dishonesty, but rather the assiduousness with which the steward acted that he was really concerned and he took the proper steps and the challenge in this of course is not so much about material success as it is about the fact that we are not nearly perhaps as assiduous about our spiritual good as we are for our material or our financial good and that’s the real point that Jesus is making is that those of the world are much stronger in caring for themselves than perhaps those who know the spiritual life but really don’t tend to it so assiduously, so conscientiously and that’s where the challenge comes in for us.  It’s an opportunity for us to think about, ‘Am I really doing the best I can in my spiritual life and in reflecting my spiritual life in my daily life?’

I’m reminded of a column that was written in a French newspaper and this was several years ago, but it was written by a columnist who was a very liberal communist who was remarking to his Christian friends and he said, ‘You know, we are going to beat you because you have a beautiful approach to life but you don’t work at it.  You don’t get your hands dirty for it. You don’t really go out and live it the way we do. We’re willing to go out and to work for what we believe in whereas you tend to take it all for granted.’ A real indictment, but maybe one that was pretty honest. No communism we know fell, not because of a lack of effort on the part of those who embrace communism, but because of the inherent contradictions, the inherent weakness within communism itself that cause it to fail although in some ways it is making a rise once again, but it is important to realize that yes, so often people are willing to get their hands dirty for what they believe in.  They’re willing to go out and to change things and maybe we sometimes we are too complacent. There’s that old saying, ‘In order for evil to triumph, the good just do nothing.’ And so often that is what happens. You know there have been so many social changes in our own society and it’s primary because of a very strong vocal minority. It’s a minority who have truly become the squeaky wheel who have dominated so much and while so many others are just quiet and passive and accepting and so there’s a challenge for us that Jesus gives that we are truly called to recognize who is Lord of our life and to live that within the concrete within the specific within the specific, within the daily lives that we live.  Not an easy message. Not one of those feel good messages today, but Jesus does call us to a greater sense of accountability, a greater sense of commitment, to realize that truly we cannot serve both God and mammon, but we are truly called to serve God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our strength. That is the call that we have.”