At another time Jesus told his disciples, “There was a rich man, whose steward was reported to him because of fraudulent service. He summoned the steward and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? I want you to render an account of your service, for it is about to be terminated.’
The steward thought to himself, ‘What am I to do now? My master will surely dismiss me. I am not strong enough to do hard work, and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do: I must make sure that when I am dismissed, there will be people who will welcome me into their homes.’
So he called his master’s debtors, one by one. He asked the ﬁrst debtor, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ The reply was, ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The steward said, ‘Here is your bill. Sit down quickly and write ﬁfty.’ To the second debtor he put the same question, ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer was, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ Then the steward said, ‘Take your bill and write eighty.’
The master commended the dishonest steward for his astuteness: for the people of this world are more astute, in dealing with their own kind, than are the people of light.
When we read this parable we can become perplexed: Is Jesus praising the conduct of this corrupt steward? Let us be attentive as Jesus shows us a sample of skillful behavior. The steward was truly fraudulent for he immediately knows what to do in case he is dismissed. We know these kind of subterfuges in our modern society. They are always increasing. So the steward is tranquil. He does not feel obliged to work or to beg. He will comfortably tell the debtors of his former master to simply give him part of what they owe.
Let us consider the moral of the parable. The master commends the ability of his dishonest steward, but not the fraud itself. He doesn’t encourage us to act in a similar way. On the contrary he encourages us to apply the same sharpness for reaching the Kingdom. Does it mean that the “sons of the light” are sleepy or lazy? Our spiritual life and our Christian apostolate need imagination, courage and work. The saints were capable of many daring novelties for the Lord because undoubtedly the Holy Spirit does not sleep.
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