September 18, 2022 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Click here for the readings https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/091822.cfm)
Once a promising young entrepreneur was asked about his secret of success in his business. His reply was like this: “I could have profit up to 30 percent from every transaction I make. But usually, I offer my costumers up to 25 percent discount, thus me only gaining at least five percent. Yes, money-wise, it is bad business. However, I may have less profit from each transaction, but I have gained more business costumers, contacts, and friends, which thus offers me more business transactions and opportunities.” Clever, is’nt it?
Amazing it is how clever, smart or sometimes even shrewd we can be when making business deals. Whether it’s buying a used car or selling a house, all of us learn how to get the most for our money and investments. This is not something new. It’s part of human nature to get the best deal possible. Jesus was aware of this.
The parable he told us about the steward who had to think quick to get himself out of a financial jam, recognized our human resourcefulness, and inventiveness in terms of our dealings with others in this life.
Consider the number of times we have sat down and worked out how we can use our talents, time, and treasure to be better Christians. Consider the number of times we have thought out how we can put ourselves in situations which would avoid moral problems we have had in the past. Consider the number of times we have plotted out how we can implant and improve the practice of our faith in our families. If we were to add up the minutes spent a month doing this for God and our Christian life; and then compare them to the minutes a month spent working out our financial deals and investments, would there be any comparison at all?
Some people, like those in the first reading from the prophet Amos may have perfected how they can outsmart others. They cheat with their scales. They inflate & launder money – or however, you call it nowadays. BUT, That is not why God gave us intelligence. He gave us intelligence to make his PRESENCE & ACTIONS real in the world. We must make use of the same cleverness, skill, and plain nerve that the manager used to save his skin, and the strategy and tactics that businessman used to secure more business contacts and clients, and all other ways and means to make God’s ways real in our world.
Jesus tells us today in our gospel, “Make friends for yourselves through your use of this world’s goods, so that when they fail you, a lasting reception will be yours.” In other words, Jesus is telling us “You have the intelligence, resources and opportunities use it. Use all these to fulfill the mission you assumed and accepted when I called you to be my disciples. Be SMART for Me.” We thus must make use of our talents, money, and time not as an end but a means in attaining life worthy of God, and in sharing from God’s benefits given us through Christ. We must be as resourceful, and dedicated in the ways of God as we are in the ways of commerce, politics, and social relations.
In other words, Jesus’ parable challenges us to be SMART for His sake, that is – to be as eager, clever, and ingenious for the sake of God’s kingdom; to be as ready and willing to use our talents, time, and resources to accomplish great things for the Gospels as we are to witness & prosper in our Christian faith & lifestyle.
In whatever & however circumstances we find ourselves now & in the near future, for His sakes’ (beyond our own), may the Lord ever help us develop more our ingenuity, intelligence, and creativity to promote his Kingdom here on earth and in our world to come. Amen.