Gospel: Lk 16:1-8
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.
Before the apostle Paul’s time, in 42 B.C. to be exact, the city of Philippi became a Roman colonia or colony (Acts 16:12) having a large population of Roman veterans. It was subject to Roman law. And so, although residing at Philippi, the Philippians’ citizenship was in Rome, their true city of origin.
This situation forms the background of Paul’s statement: “Our citizenship is in heaven.” By this statement, Paul is making a parallel between the Philippians’ relationship to heaven as Christians, and their relationship with Rome as Roman citizens living in a Roman colony. He says that Christians constitute a colony of heaven, just as Philippi was a colony of Rome. In other words, Paul is saying that heaven is the Christians’ real home, their real patria or fatherland, because their Father, God, resides there in glory.
For many Christians it might come as a surprise to be told that they do not belong to earth, that here they are strangers or tourists or passers-by. All their energies are concentrated on making a lot of money and having fun. Tell them that this earth is not their real home, and they will laugh at you. Boy, are they in for a surprise when they reach heaven!