Beware of Money. Homily for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Fr.GeoffreyPlant Gospel - Luke 16:1-13 Having heard last week the three parables of mercy (the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son), this week we continue with Jesus’ teaching through …More
Fr.GeoffreyPlant Gospel - Luke 16:1-13 Having heard last week the three parables of mercy (the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son), this week we continue with Jesus’ teaching through the use of parables. We now hear the first parable about riches (sharing with the needy). 16:1 Then he [Jesus] also said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward The rich man was an absentee landlord. The steward was usually a slave born in the household and possessed great authority and full responsibility. Like the tax collector, the steward must show a profit for his master, but he could also procure personal benefits by 5 means of adroit loans and extravagant interest. The legal system presupposed by this parable is a widely attested one and is contrary to the Old Testament ban of usury. The steward was authorized to make binding contracts for his master. The usurious interest would not be listed separately in the contract, but would be included in the one lump sum mentioned in the contract. Fifty bushels of wheat at 100% interest would be shown as a debt of 100 bushels in the contract. who was reported to him for squandering his property. Losing the property. The owner has believed the charges brought against the steward. 2 He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ 3 The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ This is Aorist Greek. The full meaning is “I have known all along what I shall do in a case like this.” 5 He called in his master’s debtors one by one. Although he, as steward, has made the contracts, they are the debtors of the landlord. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ At least 900 gallons – the yield of about 146 olive trees He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ 7 Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ 100 kors is at least 1,100 bushels; the yield of about 100 acres. He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ 8 And the master commended that dishonest steward The devious employee had endangered his master’s security or wealth. What the steward probably did was to cancel the excessive interest he had required for his own personal profit. for acting prudently. 6 He took decisive steps in the time of crisis, knowing what to do ahead of time. “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. The steward represents the enthusiastic response which people of this age show in their dealings with one another and contrasts sharply with the lackluster response of the disciples to Jesus’ kingdom. 9 I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, Literally “mammon of iniquity.” Mammon is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic or Hebrew word that is usually explained as meaning Athat in which one trusts.@ Use prudently the wealth that you have, in order to ensure your status within the final age; remember that wealth tends to lend men to dishonesty. so that when it fails, When earthly goods fail, you will be welcomed into the everlasting tents of the Kingdom of God. Some Greek texts and the Vulgate read “when you fail” rather than “when it fails you.” you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 10 The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. 11 If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? The Christian must make a prudent, restrained use of earthly goods. 12 If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? 13 No servant can serve two masters. One must set their eyes on God and not on something else. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” The disciple must give exclusive loyalty to God or succumb to the enslavement of money (earthly things, mammon), and one is loyal to God by sharing what they have with others; specially those in want.