Fr. Mike’s homily for Friday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I (1)










Fr. Mike’s homily for Friday of the 31st Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: The dishonest steward

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

Homily for Friday November 5 2021

Lk 16:1-8

Then he also 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 kors 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 are the children of light.”

The Gospel today is the parable on the dishonest steward or manager. His dishonesty in handling the funds and properties was discovered. So, his master decides to dismiss him from his job. Hearing about his impending loss of job, the manager begins to think of a way to secure his future. So, he calls in all his master’s debtors and reduces the amounts they owe. The debts incurred are substantial and so are the discounts.

With such a big favor, therefore, the manager hopes that, as a sign of gratitude, the debtors will extend their help to him when eventually he loses his job. Surprisingly, his master, instead of being angry, praises his corrupt steward, not because of his dishonesty, but “for acting prudently.”

There are two interpretations here. The first is the obvious one. The manager is dishonest. By convincing the debtors to pay less, he is actually denying his master of the full amount of money owed to him. The other interpretation is that the manager is not really dishonest, and in fact, he is just correcting an injustice.

In the Law of Moses, it is forbidden to charge interest on loans from fellow Jews. So, the way for people to circumvent this provision of the law is by overcharging the debtors. There is no interest charged, but the price of the commodity is jacked up to usurious levels. So, by reducing the debts to the proper level, the manager is actually rectifying an unjust business practice. At the same time, he is assured of getting some future favors from these grateful debtors.

Both of these interpretations, however, point to the same lesson: the manager acted with shrewdness and astuteness to guarantee his future. Jesus is not in any way approving dishonesty and corrupt practices in dealing with others. What He praises are the prompt and serious efforts and smart decisions in preparing for the future.

And Jesus concludes: “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.” In other words, He wishes that His followers are as clever, resourceful and diligent in their efforts to gain eternal life as the worldly people are in gaining material wealth and success.

We cannot deny that the message of the Gospel today is true. We may ask ourselves the following questions: Why is it too difficult to let go of our five hundred pesos to church or charity, but are quick to spend it when we go shopping, gambling and partying? Why is one hour of Mass in church so agonizingly long, but it is too short when watching our favorite TV program? Why are we all eager to pay for an expensive front seat ticket to shows and concerts of famous celebrities, but always choose the seats at the back of the church? Why are we shy or afraid to talk about Jesus, but are so eager in spreading gossips and lies about someone? Why do we come early to parties and social gatherings, but usually arrive late for the Mass?

The list is endless. Let us examine our lifestyle as Christians. Are we truly sincere in following Jesus? Do we really want to be holy and go to heaven? Let us pray in this Mass that, like the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our hearts may also burn with love and desire for heaven, and thereby be truly fervent in the practice of the Christian virtues and in the fulfillment of our religious obligations.

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches




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