Examining your heavenly holdings – Saturday, 31st Week in ordinary time – Luke 16: 9-15
The pericope of today flows from the text of yesterday. In presenting the parable of the ‘prodigal servant’ Jesus is asking his disciples to be as shrewd as the people of this world. We know that the ‘children of light’ (verse 8) refers to the disciples and verse 14 gives us an insight in to the who the children of this world are; namely those like the Pharisees, referred to in the text as “lovers of money.”
But more than that he is contrasting (as Luke does throughout the Gospel) the passion that people have for making money even by evil means as compared to the lack of passion that the children of light should have about the promotion of the Kingdom of God.
Today’s pericope continues with the teaching meant for the children of light. They are not only to be shrewd but they are called to be faithful. The parable highlights the infidelity of the unfaithful steward or manager and if there was any doubt in the listeners mind who heard yesterday’s text, that doubt has been mitigated with Jesus’ call to fidelity even in little things. The steward of yesterday’s passage surely was extremely unfaithful and dishonest.
Speaking tongue in cheek in verse nine and as a lesson to the children of light, Jesus exhorts those who have made great wealth via dishonest means to at least share it with the poor. This way, when life has been snuffed out, these poor will appeal to God for a place to be made in heaven for those on earth who helped them even with dishonest money. Even the dishonest know how to ‘invest’ in capital in the life to come.
Once again Jesus is not making a case for people to be dishonest but highlighting that if the children of this world work and think astutely then how much more should the children of light? Jesus had a deep concern for the poor. The society he lived in was extremely divided. Jesus saw this inequality as something against the message of the Kingdom of God. Wealth is given so we act as stewards, it is not our own. It has been entrusted to us by God to use wisely and to share.
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