September 18, 2022
Luke 16: 1-13
I have always believed that the Word of God waits for me in people, places and things. That it holds me fast until the Word transforms my life. Or at least makes me honest enough to pray for the grace to change.
On June 29th, 2022, when I watched an 88-year-old fragile man in a white cassock struggle to walk down the stairs of a Vatican plane, words like sin, forgiveness and reconciliation, drew me into today’s readings.
Pope Francis welcomed a delegation of Indigenous People to Rome earlier in the year. He listened to stories of the violent, forced assimilation of generations of Indigenous children in residential Canadian schools set up to cut them off from their families, identity, language and culture. Long before many committed suicide or turned to addiction, they died, as Amos 8: 4-7 told us in the first reading “destroyed and trampled” by the Church, priests, religious sisters and lay people who collaborated with government policies fostering genocide.
In Rome, Francis acknowledged his sinfulness and asked for forgiveness. He was asked him to come to Canada and ask the forgiveness of the People. And so, a Pope set out on a penitential journey.
At the end of today’s Gospel, in Luke 16:1-13, we are reminded that “we cannot serve both God and mammon.” We have a choice. Acknowledge our sins against our brothers and sisters. Turn to them. Ask for their forgiveness. Am I willing to remember my sins which diminished the life of a brother or sister? Am I humble enough to ask for forgiveness?
Luke 16: 1-13
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 the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ The steward 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 are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”