Today’s Thoughts: The Gospel for today (Luke 16:1-8), always seems to be a confusing one. What exactly is Jesus saying? It seems that Jesus is praising the unfaithful steward just because he figures out a way to land on his feet after being fired. Perhaps the key word for Gospel today is “prudence” or maybe a better word might be “cleverness.”
Jesus says the steward is prudent, that he is shrewd, pragmatic and has foresight. However, as I said above we might also say that the steward is clever, meaning he is shrewd, ingenious, crafty and skillful. Prudence and cleverness share some of the same meanings and in some instances, could be used to say the same thing.
As I prepared for mass this morning I had these thoughts about the prudent and clever steward and what Jesus might be getting at in the Gospel…
In our world there are many prudent and clever people. Often as a world, a culture, a society we put our cleverness to work in many ways. We invent machines and systems that can protect us and destroy our enemies. We have invented the internet, cellphones and computers that help us communicate better, work fast and be more productive. We invent sophisticated systems to warn us of impending disasters like hurricanes, tsunamis and other nature made events. We invent systems to spy on one another, to hack computers and disrupt communications. We invent instruments of war some of which that can destroy the world. We are very clever people.
Yet up to this point in history we have not been able to figure out how to feed everyone, how to cloth everyone or how to give everyone shelter. Perhaps this gets at the point that Jesus’ is making with his parable. The people of the world are very clever but sometimes people of faith are not. We put our prudence, our cleverness, our shrewdness, our foresightedness, our skillfulness to work for ourselves, but as people of faith, it might be time to put it to work for others.
We can learn for the cleverness of the world but only if our cleverness leads us to bringing God to the world.
I think Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ said it best when he wrote, “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, [humankind] will have discovered fire.”
Let us be clever people of faith and discover for the world God’s love once again.
Have a great Friday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...