Vol.6 No.2 DoM Gospel Reflection
25th Sunday Ordinary Time—September 18, 2016
Luke 16:1-13 Parable of Dishonest Steward
The parable of the dishonest steward has to be understood in the Palestinian customs of stewards acting on behalf of their masters and the avaricious practice common to such agents. The dishonesty of the steward was a squandering of his master’s property – in other words, the lack of constant fidelity by someone in position of responsibility.
The steward reduces the amount of each debt, not because of his generosity, but because he knows he has lost his position. He tries to figure what he is to do. He thinks by reducing the sum of each debt owed his master, he will ingratiate himself with the debtors. They will be indebted to him in the future.
While this does not seem ethical to us, the master commends him for acting prudently, with more gumption than the children of light.
Jesus tells this parable and then says “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth so that when it fails you, you will be welcome into eternal dwellings.”
What in the world does this mean?
Let’s take this command bit by bit:
Jesus says, “I tell you”. This sounds like a command to me.
When He says- “Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth” – it could mean go out into the broken world, with the wisdom of a cunning serpent, being gentle as doves, for the purpose of cultivating relationships with people who put their trust in things that are in the process of passing away –everything but God.
The statement – “so that when it fails” – speaks of anyone who chases real satisfaction from anything less than God will eventually taste real failure. They will be left unfulfilled and hungry. Even the hardest of hearts will suffer the reality of failure when they realize they are not in control of much –especially issues of mortality.
Jesus continues – “You shall be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
We know that the kingdom of heaven is here now, existing within and working through this broken world. Heaven is defined by a reality, not so much by a physical place.
If we choose to respond to Jesus’s mandate to us in a manner consistent with the gifts of stewardship He entrusted to us, we will be united to Him now and we will be united to other true believers. Therefore, we will all be welcomed – united – into the eternal dwellings of God now, not sometime after death. The best investment is using money to make friends for eternity, especially among the poor.
From the parable of the dishonest steward, what have we learned? What are we to do?
Most of the time when I hear the word, stewardship, the responsibility of money comes to mind. This is a great challenge to all of us. Share what monetary gifts you have been given.
My thoughts go even further. First of all, at Baptism the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured into our very being. We are to nurture this divine relationship in order for us to become loving disciples of Jesus. We are now able to carry all the responsibilities that are placed on our shoulders. First of all we are to take care of our own spiritual, mental, and physical needs, and thus be able to take on the responsibility of our family of origin, our husband and children to lead them to a deeper relationship with God. We are to be stewards for our church, community, friends, and any other group we are involved in, as well as of our beautiful world.
Because of our gatherings with the Daughters of Mary, we have come to a deeper understanding of the gospel messages. We must take the time daily for individual prayer, attend Mass frequently, go to confession, and have generosity of our time, talent, and wealth.
We are the stewards for our master, Jesus, acting on His behalf to bring His love and peace to all we encounter.
Let us pray:
Lord, how blessed and humbled we are to think and see the many responsibilities You have entrusted to our care. Give us the courage and the strength through your Holy Spirit to fulfill the purposes You have in mind for each of us.
Lord, there are small responsibilities that we must take on with love in order that we will be trustworthy in the greater ones. There is only one master we desire to serve. It is You, our rock and strength. Amen.