31st Week in Ordinary Time, Friday

In today’s Gospel we see the first part of Our Lord’s teaching on the need to be faithful and honest even in small things. He begins with the negative example of a steward squandering his employer’s property and being put on notice that he’s to be dismissed. The steward doesn’t want to abandon the good life he’s had, and he doesn’t want to become a beggar, so he starts making deals with the very people he and his former employer had been cheating in order to win their favor. When he adjusts the billing for each person it’s because he’s been helping his employer to deceive them all along. Now that the employer is firing him, he’s using that fact to his advantage: his former employer can’t do anything about it without revealing that he too was part of the deception, and by giving his employer’s clients these “discounts” he is winning favor for himself. The soon-to-be former employer can’t help but admire his cunning (probably because the steward learned it from him).

Perhaps a better translation for Jesus’ evaluation of this could be that the children of this world are cleverer in dealing with those of their own kind that those who are not of this kind. He’s not giving us an example to follow, but an example to be on guard against and avoid. The children of the light don’t act this way and shouldn’t.

We’ll consider how they should act in tomorrow’s reflection. For now, let’s examine our dealings with others and see whether we’re more a child of this age (bad) or a child of the light (good).

Readings: Romans 15:14–21; Psalm 98:1–4; Luke 16:1–8.