September 25, 2007

The Parable in Last Sunday's Gospel

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.”

It seems odd that Jesus positively recommends to us the corrupt, self-serving solution of the steward in the parable.

However, strangely enough, the steward's method does offer an image of what Jesus himself has done for us.

Jesus has taken the debt that we owe to the Father, and has written off a great part of it.


Anonymous Catholic Writer said...

Hi Father Stephanos,

I think that Jesus is not commending the self-serving aspect of the servant, but rather, his shrewdness is using money, rather than merely accumulating it.

I believe that other important lesson to learn from this parable is that all money does not belong to us, and should be used for other purposes.

What do you think?

God bless
Catholic Writer

11:31 AM  
Blogger Father Stephanos, O.S.B. said...

What you say is correct. Jesus is not commending the self-serving aspect, but the shrewdness.

I am pointing out that the cancelling of some debt is an image of Christ's saving work.

The parables are not merely "moral lessons"; they are also Christological or theological.

3:07 PM  

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