It’s late, but I want to say a bit about last Sunday’s Mass readings.
The readings assigned for September 18 this year begin with a topic that’s as timely as this week’s news (the appearance of the CEO of Wells Fargo before the Senate committee): defrauding the poor with dishonest business practices. Jesus takes us from efforts to get money to efforts to attain the Kingdom of Heaven. In the first reading — Amos 8:4-7 — God, through the prophet, recounts the ways in which the rich merchants defraud the poor, impoverishing them even further. In the gospel — Luke 16:1-13 — with the parable of the unjust steward, Jesus makes the point that we should be as clever and energetic in seeking God’s grace as the worldly are in seeking wealth.
The second reading — 1 Timothy 2:1-8 — begins and ends with directions for prayer. In between we hear of God’s “universal salvific will.” It isn’t God’s will that anybody go to hell, so if we speak of predestination, it cannot mean that God created anybody in order to send him to eternal damnation. Then Paul expresses in different words what Jesus said at the Last Supper, that he is the only way to God. Taken together with the previous point and the fact that many people throughout history have never heard the gospel, this implies that there is some way for the salvation won by Jesus to reach the unevangelized. Paul then assures us of his authority to teach all this.