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 God and mammon.”

-Luke 16:13

The teachings of Jesus may not always be easy to comprehend and even when we understand them in our hearts, they may be difficult to act upon. The rich official in Luke 18:18 went away sad for he could not give up the very thing he knew was preventing him from inheriting eternal life. John 6:60 “Then many of his disciples who were listening said “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”. Jesus replied “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” Indeed, the thoughts and ways of the Heavenly Father cannot be understood by human reasoning alone. What are you doing to understand God’s word today?

The parable of the dishonest steward in today’s Gospel text is one of those passages that is difficult to understand at first glance. The steward was dismissed from his position for squandering his master’s property – a natural consequence. However instead of working or begging for the money, he decided to call upon his master’s debtors to reduce their debts so as to secure their help for his future. It may seem as if the steward had taken revenge upon the master by lowering his dues. It may also seem as if the steward reduced the debts so as to pocket the money as his own. If his motive were indeed these, why would the master commend him for acting prudently? Were you focusing on the morality of the parable or the true spiritual message?

The steward had actually removed his own share of the commission from the debts, leaving what rightly belongs to the master. By doing so, he creates the reciprocal relationship with the debtors believing the debtors would surely return the favour. Isn’t this how it works in the ways of the world? Therefore, “the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light”. Thus, the master commends him for his worldly prudence of taking advantage of money to save himself. How are you taking advantages of money for your own salvation?

Is money really the root of all evil? Tainted as it is, money when used with the right motives can secure your future in the Kingdom of God. However, money has the power to pull us into the sin of greed. In the first reading from prophet Amos, we see how the merchants are rebuked for cheating the needy and selling off the refuse of the wheat. In the time of Amos, the sweepings of the wheat were meant to be left for the poor and units of weight (shekel, ephah) were not yet standardized in markets – merchants were left to their own to “diminish the ephah and add to the shekel” as they pleased. Their greed was so deep they wished for the sabbath (a day of worship for the Lord) to be over so they could continue fixing the scales to cheat the poor! The readings of today exemplify the power of money and how it directly competes with God in human loyalty. “No servant can serve two masters.” Does money control your daily decisions?

There is no partiality with God and all are made equal. What we have does not belong only to us. “If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?” Be prudent like the steward but be authentic and holy in your motive of using money to “store your treasures in heaven where neither moth or decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal” and further the Kingdom of God on earth. What are you spending your money on and what are your plans on using it wisely?

May we continue to be charitable in our almsgiving to the poor, giving glory to God our Father and provider. May the good Lord Jesus cleanse our hearts of ulterior motives and continue to enlighten us with his parables.

With the love of the Lord,