Be Generous Stewards

November 6, 2021
Saturday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time 

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 145, the only psalm to be designated as “praise” in its superscription: A psalm of praise. Of David.

This is an intriguing psalm to be chosen for today’s readings which, at first glance, have little to do with “praise”.

Our reading from Romans is the closing chapter of Paul’s letter in which is listed a catalogue of early Christians movers and shakers. The names are of influential and generous people who joined Paul and used their resources to foster the Gospel. They were the stewards of our nascent faith and are accorded a timeless memorial in the epistle’s final chapter.(Notably, many of them are women who obviously played significant roles in the blossoming of the early Church.)

In our Gospel, Jesus explains the parable about the dishonest steward. The steward has been accused of squandering his master’s goods and is about to be fired. In order to rectify accounts, the steward rewrites customer receipts, balancing with his own commissions. That way, his master doesn’t prosecute him and his customers like him enough to consider him for the job he now needs.

The parable is about how to use our wealth of blessings in order to respond to God’s goodness to us. By our generosity for others, we also serve God.

So how does Psalm 145 fit in? When the core attitude of our life is one of thanksgiving and praise:

  1. we have the insight to recognize our true wealth, the blessings God has given us

Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
Whose greatness is unsearchable.

2. we look to our ancestors in faith as inspiration for generosity (people like those of 

Romans 16)

Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.

3. we draw grace from their example and from the eternal beauty of Creation

Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your Reign
and speak of your power.

Poetry: Hymns for the Amusement of Children – Hymn 21. Generosity by Christopher Smart, 1722 – 1771) a talented and controversial English religious poet. 

Christopher Smart’s poetry is notable for its visionary power, Christian ardor, and lyrical virtuosity from The Poetry Foundation:

That vast communicative Mind, 
That form'd the world and human kind, 
And saw that all was right; 
Or was Thyself, or came from Thee, 
Stupendous Generosity, 
Above all lustre bright.
" Not for themselves the bees prepare 
" Their honey, and the fleecy care, 
" Not for themselves are shorn: 
" Not for themselves the warblers build, 
" Not for themselves the lands are till'd, 
" By them that tread the corn." 

The Lord shed on the Holy Rood 
His infinitely gen'rous blood, 
Not for himself, but all; 
Yea e'en for them that pierc'd his side, 
In patient agony he died, 
To remedy the Fall. 

O highly rais'd above the ranks 
Of Angels — he cou'd e'en give thanks 
Self-rais'd, and self-renew'd — 
Then who can praise, and love, and fear 
Enough? — since he himself, 'tis clear, 
Is also Gratitude.

Music: Generous Giver – Vintage Worship

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