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This Sunday's Programme

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25th Sunday C

Sunday 18th September 2022

The Gospel Paraphrased

There are many fine translations of the Gospels readily available. This paraphrase is not meant to replace them. Rather the intention here is to offer a more contemporary rendering so that you can imaginatively translate the Gospel in your own situation.

This Sunday's Gospel Paraphrased

Lk 16:1-13

After telling the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus went on to say to his disciples, ‘There was a rich man, who had a manager that was accused of squandering his property. He called him in, and said to him, “What’s this I’m hearing about you? Give me an audit of work for you are being sacked as my manager.”

‘The manager said to himself, “What am I going to do as my boss no longer wants me working for him? I can’t become a labourer and I’m too ashamed to beg. Ah, I know what I’ll do to ensure that when I’m sacked I’m still welcome in society.”

‘He called in each one of the rich man’s debtors. Of the first he asked, “How much do you owe my boss?” The man replied, “One hundred barrels of oil.” The manager replied, “Look, change your account to fifty.” To another he said, “And how much do you owe?” “A hundred measures of wheat,” he replied. “Right, sit down and change the account to eighty.”

‘The rich man praised his manager for being so astute and so bold. For the people of this world are cannier in this time than the children of the light. So I’m saying this to you, make friends with money in such a way, that when it fails you, you will be welcome into the eternal kingdom. For the one who is trustworthy with small things, will be trustworthy with great and the one who is untrustworthy with small things will be untrustworthy with great. Therefore, if you haven’t used money wisely, who will trust you with true riches? And if you can’t be trusted to care for another’s goods, why would you be trusted to care for your own?
No one can serve two masters. A person will either hate one and love the other, or esteem one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.’


The Psalms are the ancient prayers of the Jewish people, here paraphrased into contemporary language.

This Sunday's Psalm

Ps 112:1-2, 4-8

Praise God, servants of God, praise!
Praise the name of God!
Bless the name of God
from this time on and forever!

God is high above all the nations,
his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the Lord our God,
risen on high, exalted in the highest heavens,
yet humbling himself to look upon heaven and earth?

He raises the poor from the dirt,
lifts the needy from the dungheap
to set them amongst royalty
with the leaders of his people.


Words cannot contain our desire for God but they help direct our minds and hearts towards God's love and express our needs.

This Sunday's Prayer

Loving God, you have gifted me in a variety of ways. You also know the challenges that I face each day, each week. Inspire me with your Holy Spirit that I might creatively, even audaciously use my gifts and talents to face the challenges that come my way. I ask this in Jesus’ name, confident that you will hear me.

The Commentaries Summarised

As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.

This Sunday's Commentary

This is a difficult parable. The lessons drawn from it, concerning money and trust, seem straightforward so that only raises the question even more: why did Jesus use the example of such a suspect character? No commentator, I have read, sounds convinced concerning his or her interpretation. Some note, that in ordinary transactions the steward would have had a cut and that this was the amount he deducted from the accounts, thereby making the debtors indebted to him. Others state that in agreeing to take the offered cuts, the debtors were colluding in the dishonesty and making themselves open to blackmail. Either way, or whatever other explanation may be offered, the steward is a very canny operator, and it is his astuteness along with a willingness to risk that Jesus is commending. Many of Jesus’ parables, when told, would have unsettled his hearers. Our familiarity with them has dulled us to their sharpness. But with this particular parable, we get a taste of the challenge that Jesus’ parables offered his initial hearers.

While Jesus told this parable to his disciples, it was with the complaining scribes and Pharisees in the background. Jesus had just finished telling them the parables of the Lost Sheep, Drachma and Son, when he turned and told his own disciples this parable. Was Jesus giving those scribes and Pharisees a serve regarding the way they had ‘squandered’ the riches of the Law, and their own wealth for that matter, using these for their own benefit? One teaching of the Law was that money given to the poor was money that laid up riches for the giver in heaven. This clearly is behind Jesus’ teaching. We simply cannot take our talents and our wealth for granted. We have to use them with the daring and astuteness that the steward displayed.


Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.

This Sunday's Exposition

So how do you deal with setbacks? That is a significant theme in this parable. When we encounter a setback, Jesus does not advise us to withdraw or to just passively bear our cross but rather, using our gifts and talents, he calls us to respond creatively and imaginatively to the challenge that has come our way. He gives us the example of the steward, cannily using his talents for evil to look after himself, to inspire us to do the same in a good way. What could this look like?

Mary Glowrey graduated in Medicine from the University of Melbourne in 1910 and set up an ENT practice in Collins St, while working at two public hospitals and caring for the local poor. She was first president of the Catholic Women’s League. Some talented lady that.

In 1915, she felt a call to go to India to serve the women and children there. Setback: WWI was on and the shipping lines were closed to passengers like herself. Her response: to work for and get a Doctorate in Medicine specialising in Obstetrics and Gynaecology to be able to better serve when she got to India.

In 1920, she arrives. Setback: in the small dispensary on the convent verandah where she is to work, there are only three drugs, one of them being soda bi-carbonate. Her response: she studies the local Indian herbal treatments and uses them.

She is overwhelmed by the need. Setback: there are no trained personnel. Her response: she starts schools for nurses, midwives and dispensers of medicines.
There are medical challenges across India. Setback: there are no reliable training programmes. Her response: she sets up the Catholic Health Association to oversee training programmes and accreditation. (It is still the largest NGO health association in India.)

There is a desperate need for doctors. Setback: the European medical schools refuse her request for them to train her religious sisters. Her response: she sets about setting up a Catholic Medical School in India. As she lay dying, she was working on plans, need we say audacious plans, and writing around the world for funding.

Setbacks for her were not obstacles –but opportunities to offer a response greater than the initial setback. And why not? After all, God is on our side. Think about the setbacks you now face. With God on your side, how could you respond, creatively and imaginatively?


Reflection is an essential element of our growth in Christ. As we reflect over what we have learnt and ponder it in our hearts, we come to recognise the presence of God in our lives.

This Sunday's Reflection

Seeing evil as a lack of due good is a basic tenet of St Thomas Aquinas’ study on evil. This understanding is often rejected because the human experience of evil and sin in our world can be so powerful, and horrible, we tend to make it into a real thing, a real force. We see evil as a strong force…and good looks weak in its face. But imagine what good could have been done if evil people had chosen instead to use their gifts and talents for good. What could Hitler have achieved if he had used his persuasive powers to serve others? Imagine the people who had slavishly followed him, using their minds and free will to reject him? Is this too fanciful for you? Then recall a time when you sinned, when you messed up. Now imagine what would have happened if you had done the good thing in those circumstances. Oh! Is this still too fanciful for you? Well, look what lessons Jesus draws from this Sunday’s parable. He presents a steward, scheming creatively to look after himself. He then calls that positive scheming a good thing, and then challenges us to act similarly when we intend to do good things in in our own lives. The example he gives involves money: it is everywhere…and we use it all the time…and we are so easily seduced by it. But Jesus inspires us to use it for good. In fact, he offers us a deal. Give your money to the poor and you won’t have given it away. Even if they, the poor waste it, you won’t have lost out on the deal. Rather when you give to the poor, you have invested it in heaven. Indeed, every free, generous, loving act we do, whether with our time, talent or money compounds the ‘goodness’ interest in our lives. We never really give anything away, we just make life richer for all. How good is that?

Visual Meditation

Looking at art works or movies is a great way to open ourselves to the meaning of the Gospels. Seeing can bypass our preconceived notions, giving us new vistas of enlightenment. With painting or sculpture one needs to sit quietly and absorb the dynamics of the piece. The drama of movies more easily engages us and offers a way to conversation about the Gospel with other members of your family.

This Sunday's Visual Meditation

Art Works


Mulling Meditation

The purpose of mulling meditations is to offer a few ideas that one can mull about while doing other occupations. There are many things we do in our day that do not require our full attention - some things which are largely done on automatic pilot - like driving a car or peeling the potatoes. While we give these our attention, part of our mind is still at work mulling on other things and unless it is given something positive to feed on, we easily feed on negative thoughts. Personally I find mulling time the most likely time for God to get through to me. Because I am not so conscious of myself, God gets through the cracks and opens my heart to look at life differently.
Two practical times for mulling can be when exercising and when driving. Some small preparations for integrating such prayer into these exercises can be helpful.

As you do your preparatory stretches, pray the line of the Psalm "I praise you God for I am wonderfully made!"
Similarly when doing your concluding stretches use the prayer of St Clare "Praised be you, my God, for creating me!"

Have some music that you find helps you turn you mind and heart to God and play that for the first 10 minutes or so of your trip.

This Sunday's Mulling Meditation

As you go through this week, mull on your attitude to risk. When are you prepared to step out and do something new in a difficult situation? When such a situation come your way this week, imagine acting in new and positive ways.

Mirror Meditation

In the Letter of James, we are told that the Scriptures are like a mirror in which we can see ourselves. In this type of meditation we take a piece of Scripture, hold it before us and consider what echoes within our heart. These echoes help us to see who we are before God and how we are loved. What usually echoes in us are situations that we are dealing with in our lives. When something strikes us, we do not actively try to solve the situation or work it through. Rather we sit holding it in God's love. The point of such a meditation is to make space within the situation for God's love to be. In 'sitting with' such a situation, painful or sad, we come to recognise the love of God that is at work on our lives. The suggestions for Mirror reflections can also be used for Exercise reflections but wouldn't be advised for Driving Prayer as often some degree of emotion or distraction might rise in such prayer.

This Sunday's Mirror Meditation

Rest in the love of your God.

Ponder on the gifts and talents that you have been given and include the things you own amongst them. What talents do you feel you are using to the full? What talents are sleepers in your life at present? What do you actually neglect?

As you review these talents, ask Jesus how you could use them in a creative and canny way. Choose one and imagine how you could implement it this week.

Rest in the love of your God.

Suggestions for the Programme

The elements of the programme can be used in any way that helps your prayer. The suggestions below are fairly simple ways of using this programme.


Become conscious of your God
Hymn or poem
Reading of Gospel text
Mulling over a reflection
Our Father


Become conscious of your God
Reading of Gospel text and reflection
Our Father


Staff Prayer
The programme can also be used for Staff Prayer. How you may put together such a prayer would be influenced largely by the size and dynamics of your staff. For example, a smaller staff group might be able to use discussion of a movie as a way of exploring the meaning of a Gospel.

A painting illustrating the Gospel could be displayed on an interactive board
Reading of the Gospel
Invitation for share reflections
Our Father

Another Example
Reading of part of the Gospel
One or two of the mulling themes
Time for reflection
Our Father

  • You Made Us in Your Image by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
  • The Harvest of Justice by David Haas
  • God of Day and God of Darkness by Marty Haugen
  • Under the Burdens of Guilt and Care by W. Leslie