The shrewd steward


November 10, 2017
31st Week in
Ordinary Time
1st Reading:
Romans 15:14-21
Gospel: Luke 16:1-8

Jesus told his disciples, “There was a rich man whose manager was reported to him for fraudulent service. He summoned the manager 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 manager 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 some people to welcome me into their house.’

“So he called his master’s debtors one by one. He asked the first who came: ‘How much do you owe my master?’ The reply was: ‘A hundred jars of oil.’ The manager said: ‘Here is your bill. Sit down quickly and write there fifty.’ To the second he put the same question: ‘How much do you owe?’ The answer was: ‘A thousand bushels of wheat.’ Then he said: ‘Take your bill and write eight hundred.’

“The master commended the dishonest manager for his astuteness. For the people of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the people of light.”

(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

The scheme of the shrewd manager in today’s Gospel parable provides us with an effective framework for managing our spiritual affairs. The manager tempered the impact of his expulsion because he was able to anticipate it by making friends with the debtors. Anticipation is also a mark of wise discipleship. Death will strike anytime. But we need not become victims of its unpredictability. We can anticipate it by living every minute as preparation for that big accounting we have to do before God.
Anticipation goes with Reflection. Because the manager reflected and foresaw his expulsion, he came up with creative solutions. If we get into the habit of reflection, the awareness that we can die anytime makes us creative about ensuring our salvation. But if we fail to reflect on the shortness of life, we will live like we are indestructible. Death will catch us unprepared.

Treating others well worked best for the manager. Loving is still the best policy. From the practical side, the enemy we create today could be the only person who could bail us out from trouble someday. From the spiritual side, the neighbor we treat well today could be the only person really praying for our souls at our wake. All the others could just be there to take coffee and socialize.

From the evil that the shrewd manager did, we learn the “a.r.t.” of Anticipation, Reflection, and Treating others well. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M., dan.delosangeles@gmail.com.

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