Year C: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel: Luke 16: 1-13
Today’s Gospel shows the uneasy relationship between money and God. The problem does not lie in the money itself - but in the effect it can have on people.
The steward in the story uses money to win friends when it looks as if he is going to find himself on the streets. Faced with such a crisis, he works out a strategy. As steward, his job was to make money for the rich, absentee landlord. To do this, he would have charged interest on loans - usury , which was specifically forbidden in Jewish Law.
When the chips were down, he eased the burden of debt of those he hoped to influence - reduced the interest rate - and made himself a few friends. He was not, of course going to lose out financially himself - the money was owed to the rich man. He obviously covered his tracks well - because the master, in the end, praises him for his astuteness - the return, in the need, was satisfactory.
Jesus then goes on to say how well “children of this world” handle money and use it to their own ends better than the children of the light”. But, He goes on to say, we should use money - but use it to good purpose.
Jesus sees how we use money and possessions as an important indication of how far we can be trusted with more important things. If we use these things responsibly and generously, then we are likely to deal equally responsibly and generously with the more important gifts - the gifts that come directly from God.
Our financial wealth is, in a way, on loan - we “can’t take it with us when we go”. Although it is ours while we are here, in the end, it will all belong to someone else.
What is our “very own” is what comes from God - love - joy - peace - wisdom - hope, etc...etc...
These things we can take with us when we go - along with the love and gratitude of those to whom we have given freely and lovingly.
Money and possessions are not wrong in themselves - as we have seen, they can allow us to show love and generosity. Where that is the case, we are masters and mistresses of them - we possess them, they do not possess us.
As Christians, we are called to serve God first - and allow money and possessions to serve our purposes - and not the other way round.
What does it mean for me?
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