Homily for the twenty-fifth Sunday in the Year - Year C - Lk. 16:1-13


by

Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 

" Jesus said to the disciples, «There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.  And he called him and said to him, 'What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.'  And the steward said to himself, 'What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.  I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.'  So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'  He said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.'  Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' He said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.'  The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.  And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.»

" «He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.  If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?  No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.» "



Homily:


" Jesus said to the disciples, «There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods.  And he called him and said to him, What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.» "

Jesus teaches his disciples: he pursues his catechesis through the use of a new parable, one which he will use to direct their minds to the realities of Heaven; and this he will accomplish by starting with the terrestrial realities to which we are most attached:  money and profit of all kinds.  "There was a rich man who had a steward... He said to him, Turn in the account of your stewardship..."  At the end of our life, the Lord will also say to each one of us:  "Turn in the account of your stewardship!  I filled you with grace and talents of all kinds, what did you do with them?  It is time!"  Or rather, the Lord will say, "There is no more time!  Henceforth you will no longe..."

" «And the steward said to himself, What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.  I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.» "

We can clearly see that this parable is addressed to us, we who are still living!  For the sentence of the rich man, he for whom the dishonest steward works, doesn't apply immediately:  the steward still has time to make arrangements in order to protect himself from what he can see is the inevitable result of that sentence, namely the loss of his employment.  "I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship."  The sentence of the master of the house has not yet come into effect, but the steward can foresee that it will, and he can foresee it in time!  This is what is important!  If we, too, have foresight, then we will be able to appear with complete confidence before the eternal Judge when he will say to us:  "Turn
in the account of your stewardship!"

" «The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.  And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.» "

What does 'unrighteous mammon' mean?  The answer is not to be searched for outside the context of this parable.  So how does the unfaithful steward dishonestly earn money?  Simply by forgiving a part of the debt owed by his master's debtors.  Therefore, this is what we must do as well, but not in the same way.  We must not act as sons of this world, but rather as sons of light!  This means that we have to forgive the debts of those who owe us something due to the offenses they commit against us.  In short, we have to do what the Lord himself taught us to do in his prayer:  "Our Father... Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." (Mt. 6:12)

We have to forgive everyone who has offended us!  For, in this way, we will make friends:  "Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon..."  Forgiveness produces the unity of all the believers in Christ and, through this unity, the unity of all men and women on earth!  There is still time!  It is not too late to forgive the person who offended us!  At this moment, it is still not too late, but the day will come, perhaps very soon, when there will be no more forgiveness possible...  Then it will be too late;  it will be the moment of eternity, when it will be necessary that we turn in the account of our stewardship!  On that day, we will no longer be able to find unrighteous mammon:  we will be without it, for there will be no more forgiveness!  "Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations."

" «No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.» "

In the course of today's Eucharistic celebration, we are going to receive within ourselves He who was made the servant of all:  Jesus!  Let us serve him as well!  Let us be 'other Christs' and follow his example!  Let us forgive our enemies, as Jesus forgave his enemies!  Let us forgive the debts of our debtors:  let us not be attached to money!  Let us serve only God, and not money!  May Mary help us to find the way of salvation, which is to follow her divine Son!


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