(Medjugorje) Sunday September 19, 2010 – Fr. Kenneth Gauthier, Canada
I was in Medjugorje sixteen years ago … And I’m here this time not by mistake, because the Blessed Mother called me here. And the reason why I wanted to come was for my own conversion. Because in many ways I have been like the steward, I have been squandering my master’s goods. I have been squandering the graces that God has been giving me. Because I have not been faithful to Mary’s plan. I have become lax in my prayer life, in my spirituality. You know priests can get very busy. And you’re busy doing good things. But you do so many good things that you start to let the other things, I think the more important things, which is your personal prayer life, and your devotions, and your personal love for God, these things began to weaken in me. It has affected my mission, now Mary has called me back, to give me a little shake, and to re-enter Her school of holiness, Her school of prayer, Her school of life. And I’m relearning what I’ve forgotten. Praised be God!
“So I’m here by the grace of God. It wasn’t my idea to come, but the invitation came and I took the chance. Well, it wasn’t chance; I took the opportunity, to experience conversion, a change of heart. I told my parishioners last Sunday, “I’m going to Medjugorje, please pray for me, pray for my conversion. Pray that when I return I’ll be more like the Father in this Gospel, a man who is full of compassion, full of love, who is joyful, and generous. Like this Father is.”
“But I must admit, I have been like this steward, squandering the property of the master. In the first reading that Father gave us, we have these emergencies, these moral emergencies. Greedy business men, taking advantage of the poor, taking care of themselves. They made sure they took care of themselves. They exploited the poor. But as we say in Canada, “God will get em.”
“What is so amazing about this Gospel is that the steward is actually praised by the master. What he did was dishonest, was self-serving. But to understand this lesson, you must know something about the culture in the time that Jesus lived. In those days, it was a very common practice for managers to overcharge the debtors, and to keep the so-called commission for themselves. So, Jesus was not admiring the manager’s dishonest unfaithfulness. But he was admiring the man’s craftiness his shrewdness, his astuteness, his creativity to solve his problems. He’s got a big problem, he is going to lose his job, he is going to lose his source of income! And most people know that he has overcharged them already. He has put his so-called friends in further debt, as he would take some for himself. Now he is going to have nothing, he is probably not going to have any friends either! So he uses his intelligence and says, “Okay I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to call in all my masters debtors and I’m going to reduce their debt.” What he normally would have taken for himself he would give back to them, so that he would at least have some friends, someone who might welcome him into their home. So he crafted well in what he did, but it was all selfish. He was thinking only of himself.
“You see, these readings of this Sunday, remind us that we must turn away from the self-serving way. The self-serving attitude, and turn towards justice, justice for the poor. You see Jesus makes it loud and clear, “You cannot serve two masters, you cannot serve God and money.” You can’t.
“And Jesus with a little bit of sadness in his voice, responds to the parable again he says, “The children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation, than the children of light.”
“You know it’s amazing how much energy people put into acquiring wealth. You know, raising their standard of living, you know building their portfolio of their investments. Making sure they’re well taken care of, they put a lot of time and energy, they even have two jobs. All at the expense of what really matters, and that is serving the Lord, serving Christ, serving God. That should be our priority. Oh God knows we need to make a living. He’s says ‘seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness’, then all these things He says, they will be provided for you. That is from the Gospel that Our Blessed Mother asked us every Thursday to meditate upon. God’s Divine Providence, that God will provide for you, but put Him first! Stop worrying about what you have to wear, or what you have to eat, or where…Stop! Seek God first, His righteousness.
“If only we would put the same effort into spiritual matters, if only we put the same kind of effort that we do into material matters into spiritual matters we would be far better off people. See this is what happened to me in my last sixteen years, my efforts were more towards the material than the spiritual. And I wasn’t putting God first. Hard to believe, I’m a Catholic Priest and I didn’t put God first. It’s shameful, but I have done it. I’m more disturbed by the fact, what has this done to the people I have served; I didn’t give them my best, I didn’t give them my all. A lot of the ministries were self seeking. Good stuff, but is that really what God wanted? So I’m here to be renewed, I’m here to be transformed; I’m here to be converted. As many of you are. Now trust me, I mean my ministries were very effective I must say. I’m always told good things, they keep complimenting me and I say, “It’s not me, It’s God.” In spite of myself, God is still using me, in powerful ways. That is because of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Its God’s power worked through me. I got to get back to Mary’s plan, and give Her the first fruits of my day. I know I’ve been slacking. I have this certain excuse I can give, there is some medical excuse, but I was never a morning person. When I get up in the morning I say “Thank God I’m awake.” And then “Thank God I can get out of bed.”
“My dear friends in Christ, this Gospel challenges us to refocus our priorities on what really matters. And that is the spiritual part of our lives. And we must have a balance between what is material and what is spiritual, between what is worldly and what is of God. And whatever we do at the worldly realm must be at the service of God. For example, if you are a businessman, then you must use your business for the common good. Use your business to serve God, not the body. May God use any gifts that you have in business to make money to make profits; you have to make profits to stay in business. But do you have the business because you want to make money, or do you want to use your business to employ people, support families, and contribute to the common good? That is one of the resources God has given you, to put to good use because your using it for God’s glory and not your own. And so we are challenged to put God first in all spiritual matters and all material matters. If we can just have the shrewdness of this man, if we can have the creativity of this man, if we can have the same zeal this man had for taking care of himself, and we can apply that zeal to our spiritual lives, to our spiritual matters, our lives would be totally transformed. Our Families would be transformed. Our communities where we live would be transformed. The town we live in would be transformed. And God would remove all the obstacles. See, I come from Canada, and Canada is not a Christian country. Not any more. The secular powers are firmly in trend. They control the media, they control education, they control the government. And God is being pushed out. Even our Catholic schools are always under attack of being shut down. And that is why we as Christians have to wake up. And start exerting our rights, according to the Gospel. And be witnesses to our faith. But we’ve got to have a solid foundation rooted in prayer, rooted in the Faith. So take Mary’s plan. Go to Mass, go to confession, pray everyday, pray the Rosary. And share what you have, give generously give joyfully, to the poor. So God Bless you, God keep you and may you all have a safe journey home. And keep your priests in prayer, all the time, that we be better priests. Amen. God Bless you.”
– Fr. Kenneth Gauthier, serving in Canada, Medjugorje, September 19, 2010