In the Lectionary

September 18, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; Luke 16:1-13

What is Jesus thinking when he tells the parable of the unjust steward?

This week’s other readings pose no problems in understanding. The prophet Amos is clearly on message: there are people who exploit and trash the poor, who use clever business practices by manipulating weights and measures or simply steal from the impoverished “the sweepings of the wheat” they are allowed to glean from a harvested field. With them, God is not amused: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.”

There is also no mistaking the psalmist, who reminds us that God cares for these gleaners who have been cheated: “He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap.” Likewise 1 Timothy urges prayers and supplications on behalf of those in power precisely that they might ensure the well-being of those who are not, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.”