25th Sunday O.T. Year C
The Dishonest Manager.
“You cannot serve both God and wealth.”
“No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth [mammon] (Lk 16:13).”
Dear brethren in Christ, today’s Sunday liturgy reminds us to make good use of the temporal goods. Money, basic goods and all the things we need to live a decent life are necessary in this world but we cannot, we should not be attached to them, but rather employ them as means and not as an end in themselves. In our life priorities, they should not occupy the place which only corresponds to God. If we value the temporal goods more than and above the eternal goods, we lose our freedom and become their slaves. We should not forget that God gave all things to man so as to have a responsible dominion over them, and not in a despotic and abusive manner.
- In the 1st reading (Amos 8:4-7), the prophet denounces the corruption during his time. The disordered love for riches leads to grave injustices and the victims are as always the poor. And God will never forget their deeds.
Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
saying, “When will the new moon be over
so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
and practice deceit with false balances,
buying the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”
The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
- In today’s Gospel (Lk 16:1-13) on the parable of the dishonest manager who was asked to render account of his management and was fired by his master after knowing that he was squandering his wealth, such that the manager began to summon his master’s debtors to reduce their debts thereby earning the “praise” of his servant’s immoral, dishonest and shrewd behavior, Jesus teaches us several lessons:
- First, He reminds us of the importance to live the virtues of honesty and diligence in our daily work.
- Secondly, the fact that the master “praised” the shrewd and astute behavior and effort of his servant’s immoral attitude of reducing the debts of the others to his master because he wishes to have “friends” who would help him during his hard times, is not an approval of the servant’s immoral behavior itself.
- Rather, his master praised his steward’s zeal and determination to provide for his future security. It is thus an encouragement for us to put the same zeal, ingenuity and effort in our worldly affairs into the affairs of our soul, our relationship with God, our holiness and our salvation and that of others as well.
- We need to employ all legitimate resources with heroic effort and sacrifice, counting on God’s grace, when it comes to matters of saving our soul and spreading the Kingdom of God.
- Such effort and zeal consists in being faithful taking care of the little things, not only in our work, but also in our dealings with God and others. Why?
- Usain Bolt won the gold medal in the 100-meter race by just 0:08 seconds. Severe infection and possible death will ensue if a pneumonia, caused by a very small bacterium, is not treated with the proper antibiotics. Water leakages if not remedied would eventually lead to a high water usage bill, if not a flooded bathroom or house! A small deviation in the angle of ship’s or plane’s trajectory, if not corrected, will bring it to a destination different from that intended….and so on.
- In the same manner, virtues, holiness, salvation consist in the small details of our daily life carried out for love of God and others.
“Everything in which we poor men have a part — even holiness — is a fabric of small trifles which, depending upon one’s intention, can form a magnificent tapestry of heroism or of degradation, of virtues or of sins.
“The epic legends always relate extraordinary adventures, but never fail to mix them with homely details about the hero. May you always attach great importance to the little things. This is the way!” (St. Josemaria, The Way, 826).
- Lastly, Jesus underlines the importance of aiming for the true freedom by serving God and not the worldly goods, which if considered as ends in themselves will enslave us.
- Wealth, possessions, material things, though necessary in our life, are insignificant compared to spiritual wealth such that temporal riches should not occupy the place which belongs only to God.
- Rather, we must learn and struggle to live for God, love and serve Him, not only allocating some time for Him but rather in everything that we do.
- All human realities such as work, sustenance of oneself or one’s family, temporal goods and possessions must be directed to the service of God, −and through and for love of Him−, to the service of others.
Dear brethren in Christ, the parable of the unjust steward symbolizes man’s life. All that we are and have are gifts we have received from God. We are his stewards, administrators, and in the end, all of us will have to render an account to Him.
A Blessed Sunday and week ahead to all! God bless!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.
PHOTO SOURCE: Andrei Mironov, “The Unjust Steward” in https://upload.wikimedia.org