Jesus condemns thievery and urges preparedness in the Parable of the Dishonest Steward. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Justice so he never becomes a thief and by seeking the Virtue of Orderliness so he can always be an excellent steward of God’s material gifts.
31st Week in Ordinary time – Friday – Lk 16:1-8
Continuing with a series of parables, Jesus presents to His disciples The Parable of the Dishonest Steward, which cryptically exposes the Pharisees’ love of money (Lk 16:14), to demonstrate the terrible consequences of dishonesty and the need for men to be prudent and have a sense of urgency about the coming Kingdom.
God (Rich Man) grants to men (Dishonest Steward) gifts in the world (Rich Man’s possessions) to oversee (to be stewards), with the expectation that He will receive a fruitful return (return on the accounts). God (Rich Man) is aware of every man’s actions (earning a return or wasting goods) and rejects every man who fails to gain an honest return (the steward is fired). Rather than repent and seek God’s mercy for sin, rebellious and sinful men (Dishonest Steward) squander God’s gifts for their own earthly comfort (the Dishonest Steward deceitfully bargains with the Rich Man’s creditors, giving away the Rich Man’s wealth so the Steward can be taken care of after he is fired).
Despite crediting dishonest men with initiative (the Rich Man commends the Dishonest Steward’s cunning), God rejects men who remain stuck in sin (the Dishonest Steward is still fired). Jesus explains (Lk 16:9-13) that men who sin, by being dishonest in worldly things, cannot be trusted with the true riches of the Kingdom of Heaven. Men must choose to serve the master of the world (mammon, meaning “trusting in wealth”), or the ultimate Master, God; there is no middle ground, for men are not capable of serving both God and mammon.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be challenged by the demanding standards of Jesus in His call for men to shrewdly build the Kingdom of Heaven: Divine Prophet, Jesus Courageously (a part of Fortitude) Mocks the Pharisees, whom He cryptically portrays as The Dishonest Steward, a cheat and a liar; despite the stigmatization of the Dishonest Steward, Jesus, who is perfectly Shrewd (a part of Prudence) highlights the importance of shrewdness in building the Kingdom; Jesus, who is the Truth, denounces dishonesty and greed; Divine King, Jesus Warns those who aspire to discipleship must make wealth subservient to Him.
Do not become a thief
Realize: While the vast majority of men do not commit spectacular theft like the Dishonest Steward, many men become thieves by stealing in little ways (pirated music/videos, “fudging” on taxes or expenses, inflating costs/hours, using another’s login to get discounts, cheating at games, etc.); Jesus condemns stealing (Jn 10:10), and St. Paul ominously warns that thieves will not enter the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:10).
Believe: Reflect upon The 7th Commandment-Thou shall not Steal (CCC 2401-2463).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Justice so I recognize and make reparation for any sins of stealing I committed in the past, and I firmly resolve to never steal in the future; Lord, allow me to receive Your life-giving forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.
Be an excellent steward of God’s material gifts
Realize: God has placed within each man’s control, financial resources for use in building the Kingdom; every Catholic man can help build the Kingdom by being a good steward who prudently cares for his family, gives to the poor, and supports the Church.
Believe: Consider the Obligations of Stewardship (CCC 952-953,1926, 2042, 2122, 2218, 2228-2229, 2462).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Orderliness (a part of Temperance) so I put my finances in order, I develop prudent financial plans, and I manage the material gifts You have given me in an orderly manner to build Your Kingdom.