In yesterday‘s Gospel Our Lord gave the example of the dishonest and shrewd steward as an example not to follow. Today he explains why. As a strategy for gaining the things that really matter it is laughable, and it rarely stops at small infractions. When he challenges them to see if dishonest wealth will get them into Heaven (“eternal dwellings”), he in part is ridiculing the thought that that strategy would even work–God can’t be swindled. If you can’t be trusted in small matters, you can’t be trusted in larger ones either: it’s no coincidence that people who swindle others out of something are called confidence men (or con men): they prey on trust to get something to which they’re not entitled.
The bad example from yesterday was helping your boss defraud people (and then defrauding your boss), but there are many things we’d be dishonest in taking, because they don’t belong to us. Using the company car or phone for personal matters. Surfing the Internet or calling friends when we should be working. Goofing off when we should be studying. Giving the love we’ve promised unconditionally to our spouse to another, either in person or through the Internet. Turning the time you should be dedicating to your spouse and children into “me” time. Trust is a fragile thing, and, once lost, it is not easily restored: suspicion will cast a pall over everything we do after our dishonesty comes to light.
Our Lord warns today of the worst price of dishonesty: not just all the people we alienate, but preventing us from reaching those “eternal dwellings” where our true treasure lies. Let’s ask him today to always deal in the currency that will get us there: honesty, fidelity, and loyalty.
Readings: Romans 16:3–9, 16, 22–27; Psalm 145:2–5, 10–11; Luke 16:9–15.