The Prudence of the Dishonest Steward

November 6, 2020 – Friday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time

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We have a puzzling gospel reading today. The master in the story praised the dishonest steward. But does it mean that Jesus also praises those who are dishonest? Certainly, no! It was not the dishonesty of the steward that was praised neither by the master in the story nor by Jesus but rather the ‘prudence’ of the steward.

Let us look again how the steward acted prudently. The steward faced with a crisis, he was about to lose his job for being dishonest to his master. In his mind he couldn’t go on by becoming a labourer by digging or by begging. What he did, then, was to take away the commission that he would usually get from the debtors of his master. That is why he asked one debtor to make 50 for the one who owed 100 measures of oil and 80 for the other who owed 100 bushels of wheat. Surely, those debtors would be very happy of being unburdened of such debt. The steward had just thought about his future so that when he will be fired, there will be people who would hire him for a job out of gratitude to him.

This is what Jesus tells us today, that as Christians, we are challenged to be prudent enough. We are challenged particularly in using and spending our material possessions in the hope of making our relationship with other people to be better. For this reason, we are called to be careful that we may not be ‘possessed’ by our own possessions which will only bring us into the danger of indifference and oppression towards the lowly and the poor.

Consequently, we are also called to be fair and to be generous enough as we deal with those who are economically struggling. Thus, it would be a big help to support local vendors and local businesses, to buy products from local peddlers and show fairness with our own business too. Our material possessions can be best employed also in reaching out to others by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked especially those who are being affected recently by the super typhoon Rolly.

Indeed, these are ways of recognizing God as the generous giver of graces. By being grateful to the Lord, may it move us then to be generous also to the needy. This is a way of building relationship with one another, building friendship and helping one another as a community of believers. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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