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.”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Today Jesus challenges priorities. He says we can’t serve two masters; can’t serve both God and money (mammon). We can’t “trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land” if we love God with all our being and love our neighbors as ourselves. We proclaim that love of God and neighbor every time we pray, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to people of good will.” Do you prioritize binge-watching Netflix or football games above prayer time or mass participation? Do you put money, career, dream house, dream car, boat, fashion, video games or TV above love for God and our neighbors? Do you serve your opinions and political party or do you serve Christ and Church’s teachings when it comes to refugee children, abortion, the death penalty, immigration, racial justice, care of creation, and granting asylum hearings to foreign victims of political violence? Do you prioritize becoming more productive or more holy? Being esteemed by others or serving God?
Do you prioritize patriotic blind following of military orders or seeking the Kingdom of God? Who’s right, the government or Jesus? Seeking God’s kingdom first requires respecting others’ lives and dignity. That respect is the basis for justice. Protecting life and restoring justice are part of Just Peace Ethic. In God’s Reign, love, forgiveness, and nonviolence are the new norms. Jesus offers a profound examination of conscience. He calls us to look with him into the deepest desires, motivations, and priorities of our hearts. He calls us to repent beyond renouncing specific things we’ve done or failed to do. He calls us to look deeply at our own sinfulness, at the ways in which we miss the mark of perfect love, and are not holy. Jesus confronts our inordinate desires. The Greek Gospel word for “repent” is “metanoia.” It means a life-changing, world changing transformation of heart and mind to see, think, and relate differently. This examen aids our continued conversion. Aware of our inordinate desires, we can pray for the grace to overcome them specifically. St. Paul wrote, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2). Such transformation may come easily yet often comes with struggle and difficulty. Holiness takes consistent examination and prayer.
Marietta Jaeger, a Catholic mother whose little daughter was kidnapped and murdered, provides a great example of examination, prayer, and transformation. When Marietta realized God called her to forgive her child’s murderer, she admitted that it so was hard. She told God she was willing to keep her heart open to what God wanted to show her. Now Marietta travels the country inspiring people to pray with open hearts, forgive, and work to abolish the death penalty. What are your priorities? What transformation is needed for your highest priority to become giving glory and service to God in the highest such that you become be a sign of peace on earth? Are you willing to keep your heart open to what God wants to teach you?
Thad Crouch hosts both the upcoming Choose Life Abort War and the Grant Us Peace podcasts, volunteers with the Consistent Life Network, and newly coordinates this Linking the Lectionary to Justice and Peace Project for the Conference of Major Superiors of Men. He has been a peace and justice activist for over 20 years with Pax Christi and Veterans for Peace. Thad serves on both the Social Justice Committee and Respect Life Ministry team at St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church in Austin, Texas.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.