FRIENDS and SERVANTS of the WORD
31st Friday of Ordinary Time
November 4, 2016
From the Word of the Day
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. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors* of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.* (Luke 16: 3-8)
How should we live this Word
This parable deals with an dishonest administrator who has been denounced and is trying to find a way to assure his livelihood in the future. He becomes a bit altruistic but not really, because he is acting for his own best interests. He uses very shady means, condoning debts unjustly and thus stealing from his master. The master ignores the dishonesty of his dependent and instead praises his shrewdness. This is precisely what Jesus wants to show His disciples with this parable. It deals with knowing how to face the reality of a situation and being astute enough to work through it. However, Jesus tells them that what is asked of the children of light is greater and different than what is asked of the children of this world in their rapports with others.
In the time of crisis, the administrator shows the capacity to accept his situation. Thus, the example of this corrupt man is certainly not that of his unscrupulous actions but in critically discerning the situation in which he finds himself and knowing how to act accordingly. For Jesus, he too is a son of this world. However, Jesus’ question regards the children of light. Why can’t they discern the hour and the nearness of the Kingdom and quickly perform gestures of conversion that are essential for salvation? Thus, the administrator is praised for his astuteness and cunning and these are also praised by the Lord when He says, “the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light”. The former are shrewder in evil than the latter in the good. The children of this world are involved in who knows how much cunning and astuteness to cheat each other. Thus, listen to children of the light and do not be won over by the children of this world. Listen to Jesus and His followers and you will become wiser.
The voice of the Liturgy – Collect of Ordinary time
God, You call us to love You and serve You as our one Lord, have pity on our human condition; save us from all lust for riches, and grant that we raise free and pure hands to Heaven. We thank You with our whole life. Amen.
Istituto Maria Ausiliatrice, Via dell’Ateno Salesiano 81, 00139 Rome, Italy
Comment by Fr. Fernando Bergamelli, SDB