Gospel Reflection: Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

TWENTY- FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

SEPTEMBER 18, 2016

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Though our Lord Jesus Christ was rich, he became poor,

so that by his poverty you might become rich.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The holy Gospel according to Saint Luke 16: 1-13

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property.  He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you?  Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’

The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?  I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.  I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’


He called in his master’s debtors one by one.  To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’  He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’  He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.  Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’  Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’  He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’  The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’  And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently


For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.  I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.  The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.  If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?  If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? 

No servant can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and mammon.”

The Gospel of the Lord

 

REFLECTION

The Gospel begins with a breath-taking statement: Prepare a full account of your stewardship!   When this statement is seen, not so much as being spoken by an earthly man, but by the heavenly Lord who is rich indeed and has entrusted His property to us, it places all hearers on alert.  We are the stewards to whom the master is speaking.  Prepare a full account of your stewardship!

Today’s parable of the dishonest steward is intriguing and captures the imagination.   When the steward was accused of embezzlement, instead of running and hiding from the justified punishment, he designs a scheme that gains for himself, not ridicule from the master, but praise: And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.   Even Jesus seems to complement the dishonest steward: For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.

So, how does Jesus expect us, children of the light to behave?  In other words, what does Jesus draw from the parable that then becomes guidance for Christian living.

The dishonest wealth referred to in the parable is all earthly gains.  All earthly possessions should be used prudently for one self, for those under our care, and for the hungry, sick, and those unable to take care of themselves.  The admonition of Jesus is that if we take care of those in need, then when we approach the eternal dwellings (heaven) we will be welcomed by those (friends) we cared for in this life!

The truth of this Sunday’s Gospel is the repeated message of Jesus throughout Saint Luke’s Gospel: No servant can serve two mastersHe will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.

But, what an incredible struggle this dichotomy between earthly goods and God creates.  Does our attentiveness to our earthly welfare and the welfare of family mean we are serving mammon more than GodPrudence would command us not to be foolish and squander property, but to use worldly goods for what we really need and to share freely with the needy.  We are to be the master of our worldly goods and not allow the earthly goods to master us.  In imitation of Christ, we free ourselves from the slavery of things by self-sacrifice and absolute trust in the Father’s providence.

Saint Augustine gives sound guidance based on Gospel values:  Such a believer will then not hope for the prosperity of the world.  For if he has been taught to hope for worldly gain, he will be corrupted by prosperity.  When adversity comes, he will be wounded or perhaps destroyed.  Christians must imitate Christ’s sufferings, not set their hearts on pleasure!   No servant can serve two masters!

 

WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)

Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our Web Site for details: MalvernRetreat.com

 

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