Jesus said to his disciples, ‘There was a rich man and he had a steward denounced to him for being wasteful with his property. He called for the man and said, “What is this I hear about you? Draw me up an account of your stewardship because you are not to be my steward any longer.” Then the steward said to himself, “Now that my master is taking the stewardship from me, what am I to do? Dig? I am not strong enough. Go begging? I should be too ashamed. Ah, I know what I will do to make sure that when I am dismissed from office there will be some to welcome me into their homes.”
Then he called his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, “How much do you owe my master?” “One hundred measures of oil” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond; sit down straight away and write fifty”. To another he said, “And you, sir, how much do you owe?” “One hundred measures of wheat” was the reply. The steward said, “Here, take your bond and write eighty”.
‘The master praised the dishonest steward for his astuteness. For the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.’
‘And so I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?
‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’
"No slave can serve two masters." Today's readings sets an atmosphere that calls us to choose who we will serve during our lives. It reminds us that we cannot be slaves to the world and to God. As Christians, as slaves of God, we are forever indebted to our Lord for our salvation.
Today's reading from the Gospel of Luke draws our attention to the parable of the dishonest manager. This is one of the most difficult parables of the Holy Bible. It appears as if Jesus is suggesting that He approves of those who gain dishonest wealth.
The parable concerns a rich man and a manager. In those days, as a general rule, the manager was a slave who had been born in the household. The rich man gave the slave great liberty and full responsibility regarding the management of his personal property. Like the tax collector who had certain liberties, the manager, while required to show a profit for his master, had the opportunity to do some deals on the side. He could gain personal benefits by skilfully making loans that demanded outrageous interest.
The parable tells us that the rich man had discovered that his manager was wasting his goods. The reference to "wasting his goods" is not necessarily one that the rich man was losing money. Rather, it could imply that the slave was charging such high rates of interest that whatever interest payments were being received towards the loan, the slave was keeping them. As such, the rich man was not recovering the original cost of the loan and whatever reasonable interest he expected from the business deals. So the rich man had all this money, but it was tied up as one would say.
Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all. God wishes that all men be saved. God's Divine Plan is universal. In the hope that all men may share in eternal glory, we are called to pray for all men, our enemies, those in authority, the politicians, etc. Such is in accordance with the Divine Will of God. During our daily moments of prayers, we should always be grateful to God for all that He has provided for us.
The words of Jesus could be reworded as follows, "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of worldly wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into their eternal homes." "Dishonest wealth" is substituted for "worldly wealth" because dishonest wealth can only come from worldly wealth. Honest wealth would consist of spiritual wealth, the treasures that are accumulated in Heaven through acts of charity.
To make friends by means of worldly wealth requires one to perform acts of charity by helping the needy with physical items such as food, clothing and furniture. Those who have been helped will remember their donors and welcome them into their eternal homes.
How many of the poorer schools are less well off when their special assistants are taken away? Hospital care is getting worse as people are having to wait for ages for treatment. Mostly the poor will first suffer from economic mishap. God hates this – he hates mistreatment of all his people. Jesus raged against the exploitation of the poor. The church is on the side of the poor, as was Jesus in his life.
We pay tribute to the people who work for the poor and needy – in the parish; in diocesan and other social agencies and our volunteers at home and abroad. Not always easy. We want to get ahead, to better ourselves. At least let’s not do so at a cost of others.
The call to the church is to care as Jesus cared; we need the harsh words of the first reading sometimes to waken us up, and the story of Jesus to make sure we don’t sleep again.
Fr Roman Szczypa SDB
HOME MISSION SUNDAY
The Bishops add that the key to effective proclamation is "...to be ready to live constantly in the presence of God, knowing that God never takes his eyes off us, not to catch us out, but because he loves us so much. When we are constantly aware of that loving gaze which is upon us, and of the mercy and encouragement that flows our way, then we are enabled to look on others in the same way."
"These are the foundations of evangelisation. On them, other steps can be built: the opportunity to speak about our faith; the expression of that love in programmes of action towards those most in need; a loving care for those who have been hurt by life and hurt within the Church, for whom any return to the practice of their faith is particularly difficult. In this effort for evangelisation we seek out ways of accompanying others, through friendship, through prayer, through conversation, so that they sense in us the welcome that God most certainly extends to them. Our efforts need not be complicated or heroic. As Our Blessed Lady reminds us, through our humble efforts the Lord can do great things!"
You so loved the world that you sent us your only Son,
that we might believe in him and have eternal life.
May we encounter Jesus Christ anew this da
yand live the Good News with joy.
Through the power of your Holy Spirit,
help us to “go out to the whole world and proclaim”
our faith with confidence.
Give us the courage to witness to the Joy of the Gospel by our words and actions.
Help our community to become more welcoming and missionary,
so that you may be known and loved by all people.
We make this prayer through Our Lord Jesus Christ Your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever,
Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelisation, Pray for us.
Blessed John Henry Newman, Pray for us.
St Thérèse of Lisieux, Pray for us.