September 18, 2022, Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 8:4-7 1 Timothy 2:1-8 Luke 16:1-13
I've always had a difficult time finding anything commendable in this dishonest steward. My judgment softened a little when I learned that the steward was probably working on commission. So when he called on his master’s debtors and re-wrote their promissory notes, he might have been just eliminating his commission, not cooking the books. But, still… he did not seem praiseworthy to me. So I took another look to see what I could find that was positive.
First, as the story opens, the steward finds himself in deep weeds. His chicanery has been discovered and he has been pink-slipped. But, rather than wringing his hands and giving up he becomes very proactive. He realizes that he has limitations. (“I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.”) But he also realizes that he still has some power, some skills and he is resourceful enough to put them to use to affect his future.
His story finds echoes in our own. Like the steward we are in deep weeds these days. The commodification of the earth and its resources for the benefit of the few has brought poverty and tragedy to the many and has brought the earth, our common home, to the brink of disaster. Human beings… men, women and children… are bought and sold. Depending on the color of your skin your community may or may not have safe drinking water. And differences of opinion get so far out of hand they culminate in death threats! Yes, we too are in deep weeds.
And, like the steward, we have our limitations. Personally, I have so much metal in my back and hips I cannot easily fly to the border and feed immigrants. I cannot even march in protest or stand very long in a prayer vigil.
But I, too, have resources. I have a pen or more likely a computer…and a circle of influence. There are calls to be made, letters to be written and conversations to be had that are still within my power. And I believe that every kind word spoken, every laugh shared, every help given… like water on a stone… has the power to erode over time the ugliness abroad in the land.
And I believe in the power of prayer.
Maybe the dishonest steward has something to teach the children of light after all. Maybe he would encourage us to never give up even when we find ourselves in deep weeds. To use the skills and resources we have whatever our limitations may be. To be proactive and creative.
Unlike the steward in the story, we still have our job. We are stewards of God's vision, the already but not yet fully realized reign of God. And we still have work to do.
What gifts, talents and resources do you have to contribute to the building up of the kingdom of God?
by: Pat Schnee, OPA