“He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.” (Luke 16:10)
Our Gospel passage today continues from that of yesterday. Jesus told the story of a dishonest steward who was wasting his master’s goods. His master told him to render an account but knowing that he would be dismissed when the books were open, the steward called his master’s debtors one by one to reduce their debt. By so doing, the steward was letting go of some profit that would have come to him.
In this parable, Jesus was not talking about whether what the steward did was right or wrong rather His point of emphasis was the fact that the steward prepared for his dismissal. The steward may have been dishonest but he was wise enough to make friends while he still had a chance. Today, we hear Jesus saying that we should “make friends for ourselves by means of unrighteous mammon so that when it fails, there would be people to receive us into heaven.” (Luke 16:9)
One, we need to understand that as long as we live in this world, we are simply stewards. Yes, this world is not our own and someday we shall render an account. Empty we came, and empty we shall return. You don’t really own anything, you are just a caretaker for the few time allotted to you in this life.
Two, everything within our possession (our money, lands, cars, investments etc.) is merely “unrighteous mammon.” Jesus is pointing out the fact that these things tend to compete with our love for God. It is so easy for us to relapse into the worship of our possessions and push God aside.
Three, if you have been blessed, you must allow that blessing flow downwards to others. Use your blessings to win friends. “Store up treasures for yourselves in heaven” by blessing others no matter how little you have.
Four, we shall be judged based on our ability to properly use the unrighteous mammon within our possession. If we have not learned to give things away (if we are or dishonest with little), Jesus says, no one will give us true riches. If we cannot make friends by helping others on earth, no one will open their doors to us in heaven.
Five, the closer you are to God, the easier it is to give things away. This is what Jesus means by you cannot serve both God and mammon. Stingy people find it difficult to give because they actually worship what they possess. They feel their life is dependent on their wealth, they don’t believe that God can or will provide. The mark of a true worshipper of God is generosity – kindness. Jesus gave his life for us in kindness.
Six, we may pretend to be worshipping God whereas it is money that we worship but God cannot be deceived. As Jesus concludes: “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts.” (Luke 16:15). Learn to be detached from worldly riches. Be like St. Paul who declared in today’s first reading: “In whatever state I am, I have learnt to be content… in any and all circumstances I have learnt the secret of facing poverty and hunger, abundance and want.”
The next time your spirit tells you to help someone but you are struggling to do so, remember this. The person may not appreciate your kindness. He or she may not even deserve your help but just know you are building a mansion for yourself in heaven. Wouldn’t it be nice if you call your current debtors one by one to write off their debts?
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to seek first your kingdom rather than the passing things of this world. Amen.
Bible Study: Philippians 4:10-19, Psalm 112:1-9 and Luke 16:9-15).