25th Sunday OTC
Am 8: 4-7; I Tm 2: 1-8; Lk 16: 1-13
Late one night, a robber wearing a ski mask jumped into the path of a well-dressed man, stuck a gun his side and demanded “Give me your money.” Indignant, the affluent looking man said, “You can’t do this. I’m a United States Congressman!” “In that case,” replied the robber, “give me my money.”
That’s what the rich man in today’s gospel wanted: his money. He had heard that his employee was taking advantage of him. Today’s gospel can be bit confusing. It sounds as if Jesus is speaking in somewhat approving way of the dishonest steward. Whether the employee was stealing from the rich man or not isn’t the main point although he probably was. If we try to figure out the details, we’ll miss the main point of the parable, and that’s all a parable is – a simple story with one point. The main point is that the employee was clever and wasted no time in planning for a secure future for himself.
Jesus tells us we need to be just as cleaver in planning for a future for ourselves, and it’s not just for the few years we spend on this earth that we have to provide, but also for our time in eternity. So if our best future lies in heaven, then we must all take active interest in our future.
But, when should our interest in the future begin? After the resurrection of the dead? Certainly not. Our future begins now. The future is purchased by the present. In today, already walks tomorrow. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift; that is why it is called the Present.
The prophet Amos looked at the future of his people and cried out protesting against the values of the present generation. Why? Because he believed that the future is made of the same stuff as the present and he was afraid that his land where greed and dishonesty abounded, where the wealthy exploited the poor and justice was being torn in shreds, was doomed to destruction (Amos 8:7). Hence he argued that unless his people took drastic action against the prevailing false values, there was no future security of them.
Yes. Our eternal destiny is a future gift, but it is also a present achievement. It comes one day at a time. We reach it at the rate of sixty minutes an hour. Therefore, we should never forget that the only way we can predict our future is to exercise our power in the present, in order to shape that future.
But how? Jesus makes two clear statements regarding how we should shape our future. One is: “make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
One time Mark Twain was involved in an argument about marriage with a Mormon. The Mormon said to Twain, “show me one place in the bible where having more than one wife is forbidden.” Twain said, “that’s easy. The Bible said: ‘no man can serve two masters.”
On the one hand, we are warned against amassing money/wealth as if that is the source of eternal bliss. In fact, the opposite is true. Each of us can write a short history of our money in six words: “Here it is. There it goes.” On the other hand, Jesus is suggesting that we use money wisely. One way of using money is to give to the poor. Those who receive it become our friends now and in heaven later.
Another statement that Jesus makes on how to shape our future is: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones.” Little drops of water, little grains of sand make the might ocean. So too, our great doing of little things, makes the great life and the responsible use of little things on earth determine our great reward in heaven.
Faithfulness in little things is a big thing. Hence let us be aware; when we neglect little deeds of kindness, little words of love or little acts of forgiveness, we are neglecting our duty to shape our future which is a kingdom of love, unity and peace.