REFLECTION 1 25th Sunday
by Brian Ingram
Reflections on the Sunday Readings
What did Jesus really have in mind when he told this parable. It is unusual for Jesus to chose an example of downright dishonesty as a means for teaching his disciples. That’s not to say that we are probably all a little bit impressed by the way that the dishonest steward tried to make sure of his own future security; that there would be a few open doors and favours to call in when he was eventually out on the street. We can imagine that his dishonesty was compounded also by the threat of a bit of blackmail to hold over his master’s debtors, who would not want their complicity in the false accounting to be brought into the light. Even the master himself was impressed. He may not have been tempted to re-employ the steward however. For all of his astuteness, the steward couldn’t be relied upon. After all, it was not the master who was benefitting; the steward used his wits largely to serve himself.
But what did Jesus mean when he spoke of the children of this world being more astute than the children of light? It is not likely that he was encouraging us to imitate the steward’s practices. Perhaps, however, Jesus was highlighting the man’s single-mindedness. Is the clue in the distinction that Jesus makes between ‘the children of this world’ and ‘the children of light’?
The children of this world can be expected to be worldly in their thinking and in their goals and aspirations. Without casting any particular judgement on worldliness, the fact remains that the perspective is simply of this world and its goods, that is, all that is good about it. Worldly good is what the steward was concerned about – namely, his future, his security, his friendships – not simply goods in the sense of money and possessions. He was singleminded in ensuring these good things, even ingenious in the way he set about overcoming any obstacles.
And there’s the rub – are the children of light as singleminded about their goods (again, not possessions, but those good things that they value most)? Calling them children of the light, suggests that their understanding of what are the real goods in life is derived from ‘revelation’, from God’s word and His truth about our true nature and destiny. As children of God our destiny is heaven. Are we singleminded in our desire and effort to overcome any obstacle to reaching this goal?
November 13, 2016
November 13, 2016