For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser. https://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/091816.cfm
In our Gospel this Sunday Jesus tells the parable of the steward who was reported to his master “for squandering his property.” The master’s decision to dismiss the steward for his mismanagement would not have been surprising to the original hearers of parable. Being a steward was an important and prestigious position. An individual who failed to properly discharge the duties of this position deserved to be fired. The steward’s response to his impending termination was very interesting. He knew he was in a tough spot, so he “called in his master’s debtors one by one,” and reduced the amount they each owed his master. The parable ends with the enigmatic statement: “And the master commended the dishonest steward for acting prudently.”
What are we to make of this parable? Was Jesus praising or endorsing the steward’s acts? I don’t think so. Rather, Jesus was commending the steward’s ingenuity, his resourcefulness in responding to a very difficult situation. The steward acted decisively and cleverly to assure a future for himself. The point of the parable, then, is that if the steward, who couldn’t have been all the smart to begin with (after all he squandered his master’s property) could act decisively and resolutely to ensure his earthly future, shouldn’t we as followers of Jesus act just as decisively and just as resolutely to ensure our eternal future.
The first reading this Sunday is from the Book of the Prophet Amos. In this reading the Lord ominously promises never to forget those “who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land!”
The second reading this Sunday is taken from the first Letter of St. Paul to Timothy. In this reading Paul reminds Timothy (and us) that prayer is to be an integral part of our lives: “in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- While I understand that this Sunday’s parable is encouraging us to be decisive and resolute in ensuring our eternal future, I’m not sure how to do this on a day to day basis. How do you see this played out in your life
- I am a bit unnerved at the message of the first reading that God will not forget those who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land. This doesn’t seem to square with our belief that God is love. How do you reconcile these two ideas?
- Do you believe you have an obligation to pray for others --- even people you don’t know, or worse that you don’t like?