In the light of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral tomorrow and the days of mourning we have been witnessing, St Paul’s first letter to Timothy 2:1-8 in our liturgy this Sunday has timely relevance. He encourages us to offer prayer for everyone especially for kings and others in authority. Of course, we have been praying for a deceased Queen and I must say it has been inspiring and a comfort to hear familiar hymns, Scripture, psalms and prayers being sung and prayed during the extensive TV coverage being broadcast throughout the world. God wants us all to be saved and to reach the full knowledge of the truth. May that salvation and fullness of the truth be given to Queen Elizabeth and given to us all when our time comes.
Those in authority over us in the various aspects of our lives do need our prayers. The weight of responsibility can weigh heavy at times. If we have authority ourselves, we are called to exercise it with fairness, kindness, and compassion. We may not always appreciate those who have authority over us and not all authority is exercised with good intentions. Sometimes authority needs to be challenged especially if it is unjust.
The ultimate authority for us as Christians is the God who has created us out of love and gifted us with his Son, the obedient one, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for us all. The words and witness of Christ communicated to us through the Scriptures and the teachings and guidance of the Church are an authority worthy of our trust.
God’s Word today is utterly clear when it comes to the way we treat people in need. The Prophet Amos 8:4-7 doesn’t mince any words with those who trample on the needs of the poor to benefit themselves and God does not forget anything that is done to swindle or manipulate people from receiving what is their right.
If money, influence and power begin to dominate and control our thinking and actions, they can become distorted. Jesus speaks of a wisdom, which is so much greater than earthly wisdom. He tells us that we cannot serve both God and money in Luke: 16:1-13. Money of itself is not an evil, but it can take over, and it can preoccupy us to the exclusion of all other interests. Unless it is treated as a servant, as something to be used for good, it can become a bully, and take over our lives. We can do lots of things if we’ve got money and we don’t need to rely on anyone else. However, as the body of Christ we are called to be interdependent and to make room for each other rather than simply looking after ourselves. We have a responsibility to share our resources with those who are less fortunate.
In reflecting on the proper use of wealth, talents, and gifts, it is helpful to focus on our proper attitude towards others. Do we respect people as people reflecting the face of God or do we see them as objects to be manipulated and cheated?
We are called to be wise stewards with the authority and resources we have been given.
Listen to 'Hear what Our God asks of us' track 2 from 'Chants for Silence'
Blessings on your week.