SOUL FOOD FOR HUNGRY ADULT COMMUNITIES: SEPT 22, 2013. Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. (St. Luke).
Gospel of this Sunday: Luke 16:1-13 Find it in your Bible, or Missal, or click here for Mass Readings for this Sunday.
‘Smart’ phones? ‘Smart’ disciples? ‘Smart’ followers of the Master? A highly
recommended free App for being a smart Christian is this: ‘Use money well, use your gifts well… to win you friends! They’ll remember you for it.’
And if you have been given lots of gifts in life, well, give them away, share them, find someone who needs just what you have. That’s called smart thinking.
Today’s Gospel story hints at how to be a shrewd disciples of Jesus Christ:- if you are in a corner, think your way out of it, find support, find friends for the long haul. Use the gifts you have, for others.
Our friend in the story in today’s Gospel found himself caught between his master and the people owing money to the master. Our friend was the manager of the transactions.
In a religious society then, that forbade usury or the taking of interest, it is historically attested that people got around this in a quiet way:
I’m the master: I give you 50 barrels of oil. But the docket says I gave you 100 barrels. Cheating? Subterfuge? Yes. But that’s the way things are done. Tough luck! Everything seems above board, if the Revenue Commissioners ask.
But my Manager is in trouble, and needs friends, fast! So, he looks at your docket: he sees that it’s only a lie written on paper. So what does he do, now? He first makes sure that I will get my money indeed for the amount of oil I gave you,- which was only 50 barrels. He tells you to re-write the docket and make it maybe 60, instead of the 100. That makes you very happy, and grateful to my Manager (which was what he really wanted, for the long term, for later.). It does me out of my exorbitant and greedy profit. And he does the same for others who were also suffering from that price-fixing.
I have to hand it to that servant,- he took good care of himself: he made friends by his behaviour, even if I lost out in the process. He was one smart servant, even if crooked!
Move on thirty years and more, into the early Christian communities, in Palestine, in Asia, in Italy. There were many very poor people who became followers of Jesus. But there were rich people as well. And if they wanted to think big, and be cared for in the community, they were encouraged (see St. James’ letter, for example) to use their wealth really well for those who were in great need. The idea was,- if you have many gifts, great,- but use them for the common good.
And that’s the social teaching of the Catholic church in these times,- work for the common good of all, be aware of great divisions and inequalities, aware of the struggles of poorer countries and continents. Working for justice or right relationships, in society, internationally, in politics, in church, in our local communities, in our families.
Everything we have is Gift. Life is Gift. Everything, every talent is God-given. Be thankful. Share what has been given to you.
That’s being ‘smart’,- that’s good thinking!
Fr. Seamus. firstname.lastname@example.org