Sanctity at All Costs

Sunday Sept. 22, 2019, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

• Am 8:4-7  

• Ps 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8

 • 1 Tm 2:1-8 

• Lk 16:1-13

By Marc Masery

Who do you serve: God or mammon? 

In the Gospel reading this Sunday, Jesus tells a parable about a steward who runs the business affairs of his master’s estate and squanders his master’s wealth. 

 

In the parable, the master tells the steward he is going to fire him. The steward says, “What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to be” (Lk 16:3). 

 

The steward decides that he needs to take advantage of the influence he has left so that he has allies after he loses his position. So, he goes to each of his master’s debtors and dramatically reduces their debt to win their favor. The steward essentially cheats his master out of even more wealth, while he still can. The steward did everything he could to make sure he wouldn’t have to dig or beg, even though it meant doing even worse evil. 

 

Strangely, though he was ultimately cheated by the steward, the master manages to see the good within the steward. Instead of being upset that he was cheated, the master commends the steward for being so shrewd. 

 

Jesus continues by saying, “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (Lk 16:8). In other words, Jesus is saying something like: “If only people of faith were as shrewd in the affairs of their soul as faithless men are in matters of money.” 

 

How many of us consider ourselves followers of Christ, but have far more interest in protecting our bank accounts than in storing up treasures in Heaven? 

 

In this same reading, Jesus continues, “No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon” (Lk 16:13). Clearly, the bad steward had chosen his master. We, too, have to choose: between living for wealth or living for the Gospel.  

 

Unfortunately, it’s easy to call ourselves Christians and justify a lack of focus on living the Gospel message. After all, most of us aren’t called to do great things like become missionaries, enter the religious life, or to work among the poor like Mother Teresa. Aware of our littleness, many of us falsely believe that we couldn’t make much difference in the lives of others spiritually. Thinking that we can’t contribute, some of us think it’s alright to just give Christ the bare-minimum while we focus on building a comfortable life for ourselves. 

 

But in her Diary, St. Faustina says, “[T]hank You, Jesus, for everything, because it is not the greatness of the works, but the greatness of the effort that will be rewarded. What is done out of love is not small, O my Jesus, for Your eyes see everything” (1310).

 

Saint Faustina is saying that even if we left our day jobs to become itinerant preachers, God doesn’t reward for great works. He rewards for the efforts we put into the little daily works the Lord has already called us to: taking care of our children, doing the dishes, folding the laundry, forgiving those who hurt us, etc. 

 

Whatever we do, we can do it in a spirit of love and offer it as a sacrifice to the Lord. If we would strive to offer the Lord each moment of our day, through God’s grace, we could all make a big impact. But we can’t serve the idol of money and the Lord. We have to choose. No matter how little we think we might have to offer, we have to be willing to spend everything for the sake of the Gospel. 

 

 

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