Crisis Calls – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily September 22, 2019

“You cannot serve two masters.  Are we serving two different masters in our lives?  A life of deception and a life of truth, are we living two lives?  You know, I was talking to someone who was doing interviews for a job and they said there’s a technique that they do for their candidates.  They ask them questions until they can no longer answer them, until they say, ‘I don’t know.’ You know often in our lives, especially in the world today it’s all about putting your best foot forward and hiding your weaknesses, but here he wanted honest workers, ones that knew their strength as well as their weaknesses, but willing to say, ‘I don’t know.’  Are we willing to say that in our lives? You see, in today’s Gospel, really it’s a parable and in parables they teach a lesson and usually there’s a twist at the end. In today’s Gospel there’s truly a twist. It’s the parable of the dishonest steward and when he gets caught cheating his master, his master tells him basically that he’s being fired, but he looks at himself honestly and he says, ‘I’m too old to dig, to work other jobs and I’m not willing to beg.’  So really he’s saying, ‘I will starve if I don’t have this job.’ So what does he do? He ends up cheating his master even more so that he will find favor with those people that has debt for his master and the big twist really is when a master commends him for his prudence. Now that can be confusing. Now don’t hear what Jesus or I’m not saying. We’re not saying that you should cheat your way in life or that you should be dishonest, but I think that Christ is pointing out very key qualities in this steward that can help us in the spiritual life.  You see, there was a crisis in his life and often times crisis calls for a decision and this crisis, he was going to lose everything, but also in crisis it’s a weird way that we have to honestly really look at ourselves, really gauge ourselves truly honest. In here in the parable he did it very clearly. He basically said, ‘I’m too weak physically to work and I’m too weak spiritually to beg.’ I think that’s an honest assessment of him, but the last is that once he assessed his life he took action. Now for us in our lives, what are we waiting for?  What are you waiting for, to assess your life, to look at yourselves honestly. You know, it says, ‘you cannot serve two masters.’ But often in our lives we’re not willing to be honest with ourselves truly. There’s always darkness in our life, secrets that we’re not willing to look at, but think about all the things you say in your vocabulary that I ‘should do’. I should eat healthier. I should exercise. I should go to Mass more often. I should pray more. You know we make that assessment of our lives, but what keep us from truly acting? Are we waiting for a crisis in our life?

You know there’s people that it compares to, people in 12 step programs, have you ever met them?  They’re the most spiritual and honest people that I’ve met because they have to be truly honest with themselves.  You see they hit rock bottom and because of that, they truly have to assess their life for what it is, but most importantly they have to act upon it.  They can’t just say, ‘Well I should do it.’ Because they know it truly affects them and God is calling us today in our spiritual life to act now. The Kingdom of God is at hand and what are we doing?  What are we waiting for? What are you waiting for? You know, it’s hard to look at ourselves honestly, but I think we all have in certain ways, but the hard part is truly the action. If you listen, there is a lot of shoulds in our lives and what is keeping you from acting upon it.  You know they say it’s difficult to act because there’s a fear of what will happen, but I’d like to look at an image of stepping into the light. If you’re in a dark room or you’ve been inside all day long or it’s been raining all day and now the light has come. When you step out into the light, what happens?  Your eyes sting, they burn don’t they? It’s almost unbearable that you want to turn around and go back into the darkness, but what if you stay out there? What if you stay in the light? Your eyes will adjust and it will be the new norm and so it is true in the spiritual life of the fears that we have and the lies that we tell ourselves no matter how small or how big the lies are, there is always that fear, but it’s the same thing, if we shine the light upon our lives for just what it is, it will be painful at first, but it will ease and that will be the new life and that’s really what God is calling us to.  That’s what truly the life of In Christ is, being truly honest with ourselves, but it is hard, but what are we waiting for? What are you waiting for?

So as you come today before Christ who is truly present before us in the Eucharist, let us continue to ask the Lord for the strength and the courage to shine the light upon our lives for truly what it is, the good and the bad knowing of God’s love and mercy for us that it won’t kill us but truly he will have mercy on us and give us the strength and courage to face it.  Amen.”