Learning From the Dishonest Steward

First Reading: Romans 15:14-21
I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another’s foundation,
but as it is written: Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 98:1, 2-3Ab, 3CD-4
R. (see 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.

Gospel: Luke 16:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”


nov 5

The parable of the dishonest steward is one of those confusing parables—it sounds like Jesus is praising a lousy and deceitful servant. While I think we can safely say that Jesus is not calling us to be irresponsible and then to cheat others to cover our backsides, He does commend the steward for his resourcefulness and suggests we could learn a few things from him.

Selfishly pursue your best interests. All of the steward’s actions were motivated out of selfishness. As Christians we are called to lay down our lives for God and for others, the opposite of selfishness. But when it comes to salvation we need to desire it, we need to pursue it selfishly. A life with Jesus is the very best thing for us and we need to make sure nothing gets in the way of that. And when we’ve made our relationship with Jesus our top priority, we will actually be able to better serve those around us.

Use the time you have left wisely. The steward knew that his days as steward were numbered, so he used the last of his time, energy, and resources to make sure his future was taken care of. We should be doing same. The old adage goes, treat every day like it’s your last. And they are words of truth, because we really don’t know when our lives here on earth will end, and when we will be called to give an account of ourselves. We should always be living with our eyes fixed on eternity.

Don’t leave the future up to chance. The steward wasn’t going to just hope for the best after he lost his job. He made certain that he would be looked out for. We are coming up on the end of the Church year where we look to the coming of Christ as King. We are reminded that Jesus is coming again, and we’d best be ready for Him. This means being alert, making use of the sacraments, especially that of confession. Make a daily examination of conscience and ask yourself, “am I ready for Jesus to come again?”

How can I better use my time, energy and resources to serve Jesus and advance His kingdom? Lord, show me the way.

Photo by Jacque Kayleigh

Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, knitter, gardener, and convert to the Catholic faith.  Read more about her here.

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