“Join in imitating me, and mark those who so walk as you have an example in us.” (Philippians 3:17)
In his letter to the Philippians, St. Paul admonishes us to follow the example of his life. This is the mark of a preacher whose life does not contradict his words. Now let us compare the words of St. Paul above with the statement of Jesus in Matthew 23:2-3: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practise and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice.”
There are two kinds of preachers; those who preach with words and those who preach with their very lives. Anybody can preach with words, in our digital age, you can get very powerful sermons on any topic simply at the touch of a button but being able to preach with your life makes all the difference.
Just as Paul presented himself as an example, Jesus also presents the steward in today’s Gospel passage as our example of how we must be prepared to do whatever it takes to enter heaven. The steward made moves to ensure that after his dismissal, there would be some open doors for him. like the steward, our very life on earth is limited; someday we shall be dismissed. So the question is: “What efforts am I making to ensure that there would be people to receive me at the doors of heaven after my “dismissal”?
By reducing their debt profiles, the steward was giving away that which ought to have come to him as commission for the loan. This shows the importance of sacrifice as far as the road to heaven is concerned. Just as many save money for their retirement, it is very important that we begin to store up treasures for ourselves in heaven by giving things away; by helping others and by preaching with our lives.
As Jesus says: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to imitate good examples and be inspired daily by the Saints. Amen.
Bible Study: Philippians 3:17-4:1, Psalm 122 and Luke 16:1-8).