Posted by James Hahn on

Friday November 10th - Pope Saint Leo the Great

Luke 16:1-8

This certainly is a confusing Gospel reading. We are introduced to a dishonest steward as his master is firing him. Basically the master told him to clean out his desk and turn in all the accounts in his charge. The steward, concerned with where he might be living or getting his next meal, contacts all those people who owe the master money and proceeds to apparently forgive much of their debt in order to make friends with them. Here we would think that this would certainly anger the master and the master would have him beat or thrown in prison at the very least. However, much to our surprise, the master commends the steward for his prudence.

Based on what we know of other characters in scripture and in real life for that matter I think we can safely assume that the steward was adding his own "tax" to the master's debtors and making a little extra cash. So, when the steward went to the debtors and "forgave" some of their debt he was probably not hurting the master but simply taking a big cut in his own take. Yet, this was a prudent thing to do since it made him look good and perhaps won him friends who would help him in his imminent time of need.

The key to this passage is the very last line. Jesus is not praising the steward for "wasting goods" nor is he praising him for stealing from the accounts. He is praising him for seeing what was really going on and then being resourceful in order to survive. He wants us to open our eyes and make good use of what is available to us. Many times we are cowered into not acting because the world may see our actions as "pushing" our faith on others. Jesus tells us elsewhere though to be wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. This is exactly what this steward was doing for earthly purposes. Imagine what you could do for heavenly purposes!

FROM THE SAINTS - "What zeal people put into their earthly affairs: dreaming of honors, striving for riches, bent on sensuality! Men and women, rich and poor, old and middle-aged and young and even children: all of the alike. When you and I put the same zeal into the affairs of our souls, we will have a living and working faith. And there will be no obstacle that we cannot overcome in our apostolic works." Saint Josemaria Escriva The Way, 317

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