Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Last week we said the lost coin did not know it was lost; it had no feelings and no sense of its purpose. The lost sheep was more aware of its difficulties and would have cried all night if it was hurt or caught somewhere. The lost son was very conscious of his rebellion and of the mercy his father showed him when he returned. Which one of these lost things is more like you and me? God does not forget us or give up on us and reaches people in a huge variety of different circumstances.
The steward in the gospel is totally in charge of the master’s house, business, workers, profits. He was the manager of everything. The master of the house was away, maybe for a long time. If the steward had humility and modesty he might still have his job.
Maybe the profits the steward made for himself was the reason he lost his job. We can see from the gospel that it appears that he made a hundred percent on the oil and twenty percent on the wheat. He probably multiplied this many times over. Maybe he was selfish and didn’t help anyone around him. Maybe the master thought he was taking too much. We don’t know.
You too are in charge of your house, your family, your work; your kids, everything, and you are also a steward. What does this mean? The house and kids and job are not yours; they belong to the master. You are in charge for 50 or 60 years and then your work is over.
Let us not judge him too harshly since you are also stewards, and your life is not your own; neither is your intellect, your health, your money, your abilities to sing or speak or organize or whatever. All that you and I have are gifts from God. They are on loan to us for a certain amount of time. And we will need to tell the Master how we did with what he gave us.
It is a great grace to see an older person begin to see that he or she cannot manage their gifts any more. Usually it happens little by little or it can happen all at once. I am not sure which is more difficult. Many people fight a lot not to lose this responsibility but we know the final results.
It is a grace to be able to see this process in someone close to us since the same will happen to us one day. It is easy for us to think I will always be able to walk or talk or drive a care or care for myself. Well what we said two weeks ago is important for a person of faith: what is better to have or to be?
So why does the master praise him? Because he acted quickly to gain a place to live for his earthly life. What therefore should we do to gain a place that lasts forever? We should be so smart and so wise! How much more will we be praised when we give our time and our abilities and our money for the glory of God and in service of others?
The selfish man says, “This is mine, I’ll keep it.” A Christian says, “What’s mine is a gift from God and I will share it.” All that I have, my abilities to teach and persuade, to make friends, and to organize are only on loan to me. I will have to give an account of those abilities, those talents to the one who gave them to me. Did I use them only for myself or to make money or a name for myself, or did I use them for the glory of God and to help others?
It was wonderful that an Orthodox Jewish judge stopped the implementation of the Assisted Suicide Law in this state over the summer. He had a certain talent as a lawyer to stop or at least postpone this evil. A person of good will can help the society when he uses his abilities to work for the common good. He did not keep these gifts for himself or just for his family.
Mammon is also called a hidden treasure since it is deceptive, empty, and unreliable; it is not true and lasting. When money fails you do something so that “they” –those in heaven—will receive you. Who are they? Perhaps the ones you helped, the poor or the Church.
This gospel shows us that we need an adult faith to be a good steward of all that God has given us. If you are local our catechesis, a series of talks about the meaning of faith and of life, start in the parish school on Monday and Thursday of next week at 8 PM. These talks helped me to stay faithful to the my vocation as a priest. Come and listen!