Ap­pli­ca­tion of the para­ble of the dis­hon­est stew­ard

Manila Bulletin - - Editorial - LUKE 16:9-15

JE­SUS said to his dis­ci­ples: “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 God and mam­mon.”

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all th­ese things and sneered at him. And he said to them, “You jus­tify your­selves in the sight of oth­ers, but God knows your hearts; for what is of hu­man es­teem is an abom­i­na­tion in the sight of God.”

RE­FLEC­TION YOU CAN­NOT SERVE GOD AND MAM­MON. Je­sus teaches his dis­ci­ples to shun ma­te­ri­al­ism. If they have been blessed with ma­te­rial things, they should use th­ese to be­friend ev­ery­one by shar­ing th­ese bless­ings.

Mam­mon is an Ara­maic word for money or wealth in which one trusts and which one treats as god. The crea­ture can­not be on par with the Cre­ator. “Dis­hon­est wealth” is mam­mon in the orig­i­nal Greek ver­sion.

Je­sus’ dis­ci­ples should not mis­take mam­mon for God. Th­ese are clearly two dif­fer­ent things. The dis­ci­ples may be tempted to pri­or­i­tize wealth over God.

The Pharisees do not agree with Je­sus, for they love money. They be­lieve they can love both God and money. They teach peo­ple how to love God by keep­ing the com­mand­ments to the mi­nut­est de­tails. Yet they also want hefty stipends.

Je­sus knows their hearts. They are us­ing God to en­rich them­selves. God dis­ap­proves of their sys­tem. They are false spir­i­tual lead­ers, us­ing re­li­gion for rack­e­teer­ing.

The Church has its own share of ma­te­ri­al­is­tic priests. We know them by their life­style. While they amass wealth, they im­pov­er­ish their parish­ioners’ spir­i­tual life. They can­not protest against the rich who tram­ple the poor. Jus­tice, peace, and sol­i­dar­ity mean noth­ing to them.

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