My Dear people,
The readings today deal with of how people squander their gifts from God and take advantage of others for selfish gains. In the first reading, Amos reminds the people of how they have acted against God and toward self interest by cheating on transactions, by fixing scales, by buying the poor with a pair of sandals. They have totally abused their power. This parallels the gospel where the steward, seeing that the master takes his time to return, takes advantage of the servants, squanders the master’s money, and continues to live a life of selfish gratification without any sense of responsibility to the property of the master. He is dishonest and he is only interested in himself.
The Gospel is part of the chapter that speaks to the right use of material possessions by Jesus’ followers. The parable, unique to Luke, encourages prudence and resolute action on the part of the disciples.
The steward was prudent in thinking of himself, even though he cheated his landlord.
The point that Jesus makes is that his followers should be equally prudent when responding to him and to his demand for repentance. They would thereby earn an eternal home in heaven. Jesus was concerned because “the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (16:8).
After this application of the parable, the gospel gives several independent sayings of Jesus concerning the use of wealth. Jesus wants his followers to use money to assist the needy and thereby assure their salvation (16:19). Daily fidelity is also expected of Christians (16:10-12). In this situation he calls wealth “dishonest” (16:9) because it often leads human beings to put wealth before God. Jesus says one must choose between God and mammon (16:13). Mammon is personified as a false god attracting persons away from the true and only God. Jesus demands that we serve God, an honorable activity for every person, and not mammon, an enslaving and degrading activity. Saint Paul speaks of a greedy person, for example, as an idolater (Ephesians 5:5). Let us be accountable for how we use the gifts of God, both temporal and spiritual.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Vincent Clemente